Prevalence, Genome Characterization, and Phylogenetic Analysis of Bovine Hepacivirus in Inner Mongolia, Northeastern China
Objective: Bovine hepacivirus (BovHepV) is a new member of the genus Hepacivirus in the family Flaviviridae, which has been detected in cattle in more than seven countries. The purpose of the study was to identify and genetically characterize BovHepV in cattle in northeastern China.
Methods: A total of 116 serum samples from free-range cattle were collected from HulunBuir city in April and May, 2021, and were divided into three pools before being subjected to metagenomic sequencing. The BovHepV sequences obtained were used for genome characterization and phylogenetic analysis.
Results: Two 8840 nucleotides long BovHepV strains YKS01/02 were identified in the samples through metagenomic sequencing. In RT-PCR screening, the prevalence of BovHepV was 8.8% (5/57) in Yakeshi of HulunBuir. The novel virus showed a range of 79.3%–91.9% nucleotide sequence identity and 92.5%–98.1% amino acid sequence identity with the BovHepV sequences discovered. Phylogenetic analysis classified YKS01/02 strains into BovHepV subtype G strains discovered in Jiangsu Province, China, and named with subtype G2.
Conclusion: This study first identified BovHepV in cattle in northeastern China, and expands the geographical distribution and genetic diversity of BovHepV in the country.