The putative membrane (M) protein (ORF 6) and nucleocapsid (N) protein (ORF 7) genes of five U.S. isolates of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) with differing virulence were cloned and sequenced. To determine the genetic variation and the phylogenetic relationship of PRRSV, the deduced amino acid sequences of the putative M and N proteins from these isolates were aligned, to the extent known, with other PRRSV isolates, and also other members of the proposed arterivirus group including lactate dehydrogenase-elevating virus (LDV) and equine arteritis virus (EAV). There was 96-100% amino acid sequence identity in the putative M and N genes among U.S. and Canadian PRRSV isolates with differing virulence. However, their amino acid sequences varied extensively from those of European PRRSV isolates, and displayed only 57-59% and 78-81% identity, respectively. The phylogenetic trees constructed on the basis of the putative M and N genes of the proposed arterivirus group were similar and indicated that both U.S. and European PRRSV isolates were related to LDV and were distantly related to EAV. The U.S. and European PRRSV isolates fell into two distinct groups, suggesting that U.S. and European PRRSV isolates represent two distinct genotypes.
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