Genetic analysis of the first European brown hare syndrome isolates from Greece

hareBillinis C., Knowles N.J., Spyrou V., Sofianidis G., Psychas V., Birtsas P., Sofia M., Maslarinou O., Tontis D.K., Kanteres D. 2005. Genetic analysis of the first European brown hare syndrome isolates from Greece. Wildlife Biology in Practice. Wildlife Biology in Practice, 1: 118–127.

Abstract

Eight European brown hares (Lepus europaeus) found dead throughout Greece were examined for the presence of European brown hare syndrome (EBHS). The diagnosis of the disease was established by macro- and microscopical lesions, and RT-PCR analysis. The most common lesions, such as necrotic hepatitis, were observed in the liver, while congestion and haemorrhages were present mainly in lungs and tracheal mucosa. To determine the extent of genetic heterogeneity of the EBHSV isolates, a 265 bp fragment of the capsid protein (VP60) gene of the eight isolates were amplified by RT-PCR and sequenced. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the Greek isolates were indeed EBHS viruses and that EBHSV and RHDV differed by an average of approximately 39%. The maximum nucleotide variation amongst all the EBHS viruses was 15%, whereas variation within the RHDV group amounts to 11%. Apart from GRE-8, all the Greek viruses fell on a single genetic lineage and differed between 1 and 7%; however, bootstrap confidence limits were particularly low on all the branches leading from the base of the EBHSV lineage to GRE-8 (viz. 20, 13 and 9%). The grouping to the remaining Greek isolates was better supported (65%).

Key words: EBHS; genetic analysis; Greece; virus.

Περίληψη

Εξετάστηκε η γενετική του ιού της αιμορραγικής νόσου του λαγού (EBHS) από οκτώ νεκρούς λαγούς. Αξιοσημείωτο είναι πως ένας λαγός ο οποίος βρέθηκε νεκρός στην περιοχή της Ορμύλιας είχε προσβληθεί από στέλεχος του ιού το οποίο διάφερε από τα υπόλοιπα ελληνικά, αλλά είχε μεγαλύτερες ομοιότητες με στελέχη της κεντρικής και βόρειας Ευρώπης.