Genetic and phylogenetic analysis of South Korean sacbrood virus isolates from infected honey bees (Apis cerana).
ABSTRACT Sacbrood virus (SBV) is one of the most destructive honey bee viruses. The virus causes failure to pupate and death in both larvae and adult bees. Genetic analysis of SBV infected honey bees (Apis cerana) from five different provinces was carried out based on three nucleotide sequences; one partial structural protein coding sequence and two non-structural protein coding sequences. Sequences amplified by three specific primer pairs were aligned and compared with reference sequences deposited in the GenBank database. Sequence alignments revealed a low level of sequence variation among Korean isolates (≥ 98.6% nucleotide identity), regardless of the genome regions studied or the geographic origins of the strains. Multiple sequence comparisons indicated that Korean SBV isolates are genetically closely related to Chinese and other Asian strains. Interestingly, the Korean SBV isolates showed a number of unique nucleotides and amino acids that had not been observed in other published strains. Korean and other Asian isolates from the host A. cerana and the UK, European and Japanese strains from the host Apis mellifera showed differences in nucleotide and deduced amino acid identities. This suggests that host-specificity exists among SBV strains isolated from different species. Phylogenetic relatedness between compared sequences was analyzed by MEGA 4.1 software using the neighbor-joining (NJ) method with a boot-strap value of 1000 replicates. Obtained topologies were in agreement with previous studies, in which a distinct group of SBV was formed by UK and European genotypes and another group was comprised of Asian genotypes including strains that originated from China, Japan (japonica), India and Nepal. However, phylogeny based on a partial protein structural coding sequence grouped all Korean SBV isolates identified in A. cerana as a separate cluster. Our findings suggest that further study, including Korean SBV isolated from A. mellifera, is needed.