Phylogenetic and virulence analysis of tick-borne encephalitis viruses from Japan and far-eastern Russia

Daisuke Hayasaka, Yoshiyuki Suzuki, Hiroaki Kariwa, Leonid Ivanov, Vladimir Volkov, Vladimir Demenev, Tetsuya Mizutani, Takashi Gojobori, Ikuo Takashima*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


We have previously reported that tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is endemic in a specific area of Hokkaido, Japan. In Oshima, the southern part of Hokkaido, TBE virus was isolated from sentinel dogs, ticks and rodents in 1995 and 1996. To identify when these TBE viruses emerged in Hokkaido, the times of divergence of TBE virus strains isolated in Oshima and far-eastern Russia were estimated. TBE virus was isolated in Khabarovsk in 1998 and the nucleotide sequences of viral envelope protein genes of isolates from Oshima and Khabarovsk were compared. From the synonymous substitution rate of these virus strains, the lineage divergence time of these TBE virus strains was predicted phylogenetically to be about 260-430 years ago. Furthermore, the virulence of TBE virus isolates from Oshima and Khabarovsk were compared in a mouse model. The results showed that the isolates possessed very similar virulence in mice. This report provides evidence that the Oshima strains of TBE virus in Hokkaido emerged from far-eastern Russia a few hundred years ago and this explains why these strains possess virulence similar to the TBE viruses isolated in Russia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3127-3135
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of General Virology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology


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