• A complete analysis of HA and NA genes of influenza A viruses.

      Shi, Weifeng; Lei, Fumin; Zhu, Chaodong; Sievers, Fabian; Higgins, Desmond G; The Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland. weifeng.shi@ucd.ie (2010-12)
      More and more nucleotide sequences of type A influenza virus are available in public databases. Although these sequences have been the focus of many molecular epidemiological and phylogenetic analyses, most studies only deal with a few representative sequences. In this paper, we present a complete analysis of all Haemagglutinin (HA) and Neuraminidase (NA) gene sequences available to allow large scale analyses of the evolution and epidemiology of type A influenza.
    • Positive Selection on Hemagglutinin and Neuraminidase Genes of H1N1 Influenza Viruses

      Li, Wenfu; Shi, Weifeng; Qiao, Huijie; Ho, Simon Y.W.; Luo, Arong; Zhang, Yanzhou; Zhu, Chaodong (2011-04-21)
      Abstract Background Since its emergence in March 2009, the pandemic 2009 H1N1 influenza A virus has posed a serious threat to public health. To trace the evolutionary path of these new pathogens, we performed a selection-pressure analysis of a large number of hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) gene sequences of H1N1 influenza viruses from different hosts. Results Phylogenetic analysis revealed that both HA and NA genes have evolved into five distinct clusters, with further analyses indicating that the pandemic 2009 strains have experienced the strongest positive selection. We also found evidence of strong selection acting on the seasonal human H1N1 isolates. However, swine viruses from North America and Eurasia were under weak positive selection, while there was no significant evidence of positive selection acting on the avian isolates. A site-by-site analysis revealed that the positively selected sites were located in both of the cleaved products of HA (HA1 and HA2), as well as NA. In addition, the pandemic 2009 strains were subject to differential selection pressures compared to seasonal human, North American swine and Eurasian swine H1N1 viruses. Conclusions Most of these positively and/or differentially selected sites were situated in the B-cell and/or T-cell antigenic regions, suggesting that selection at these sites might be responsible for the antigenic variation of the viruses. Moreover, some sites were also associated with glycosylation and receptor-binding ability. Thus, selection at these positions might have helped the pandemic 2009 H1N1 viruses to adapt to the new hosts after they were introduced from pigs to humans. Positive selection on position 274 of NA protein, associated with drug resistance, might account for the prevalence of drug-resistant variants of seasonal human H1N1 influenza viruses, but there was no evidence that positive selection was responsible for the spread of the drug resistance of the pandemic H1N1 strains.
    • Subgenotype reclassification of genotype B hepatitis B virus

      Shi, Weifeng; Zhu, Chaodong; Zheng, Wei; Carr, Michael J; Higgins, Desmond G; Zhang, Zhong (2012-08-27)
      Abstract Background Nine subgenotypes from genotype B have been identified for hepatitis B virus (HBV). However, these subgenotypes were less conclusive as they were often designated based on a few representative strains. In addition, subgenotype B6 was designated twice for viruses of different origin. Methods All complete genome sequences of genotype B HBV were phylogenetically analyzed. Sequence divergences between different potential subgenotypes were also assessed. Results Both phylogenetic and sequence divergence analyses supported the designation of subgenotypes B1, B2, B4, and B6 (from Arctic). However, sequence divergences between previously designated B3, B5, B7, B8, B9 and another B6 (from China) were mostly less than 4%. In addition, subgenotype B3 did not form a monophyly. Conclusion Current evidence failed to classify original B5, B7, B8, B9, and B6 (from China) as subgenotypes. Instead, they could be considered as a quasi-subgenotype B3 of Southeast Asian and Chinese origin. In addition, previously designated B6 (from Arctic) should be renamed as B5 for continuous numbering. This novel classification is well supported by both the phylogeny and sequence divergence of > 4%.