Recombination among human non-polio enteroviruses: implications for epidemiology and evolution

Human enteroviruses (EV) belong to the Picornaviridae family and are among the most common viruses infecting humans. They consist of up to 100 immunologically and genetically distinct types: polioviruses, coxsackieviruses A and B, echoviruses, and the more recently characterized 43 EV types. Frequent recombinations and mutations in enteroviruses have been recognized as the main mechanisms for the observed high rate of evolution, thus enabling them to rapidly respond and adapt to new environmental challenges. The first signs of genetic exchanges between enteroviruses came from polioviruses many years ago, and since then recombination has been recognized, along with mutations, as the main cause for reversion of vaccine strains to neurovirulence. More recently, non-polio enteroviruses became the focus of many studies, where recombination was recognized as a frequent event and was correlated with the appearance of new enterovirus lineages and types. The accumulation of multiple inter- and intra-typic recombination events could also explain the series of successive emergences and disappearances of specific enterovirus types that could in turn explain the epidemic profile of circulation of several types. This review focuses on recombination among human non-polio enteroviruses from all four species (EV-A, EV-B, EV-C, and EV-D) and discusses the recombination effects on enterovirus epidemiology and evolution.

Source: Virus Genes. 2015 Apr;50(2):177-88. doi: 10.1007/s11262-014-1152-y. Epub 2014 Dec 24.

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