Nucleotide sequences of hepatitis E virus (HEV) isolates infecting wild boars in Mie prefecture, which is located in the central region of Japan and is far from the most prevalent regions of HEV infection in Japan, were determined and characterised. Among 144 serum samples of wild boars captured in Mie prefecture, 7 were positive for HEV-RNA. The nucleotide sequence of nearly the entire genome was determined for 4 of the 7 positive samples. Phylogenetic tree analyses indicated that 6 samples were subtype 3e and 1 was subtype 3a among the 7 isolates. We identified the indigenization of subtype 3e isolates in Japanese wild boars. Furthermore, 5 subtype 3e isolates were closely related and were located in the peripheral branch of subtype 3e isolates from European countries in the phylogenetic tree. The structure indicated that the ancestor of the 5 subtype 3e isolates originated in Europe. The phylogenetic structure and coalescent analyses suggested that the subtype 3e isolates entered Japan from Europe by importation of large-race pigs around 1966. The results also indicated that several lineages of subtype 3e expanded to a wide area of Japan around 1992 and 1 of the lineages was indigenized in wild boars in Mie prefecture between 1992 and 2009. The appearance of a wild boar cluster in the peripheral branch in the phylogenetic lineage may indicate the direction of gene flow of HEV subtype 3e from swine to wild boars. Clarification of the transmission direction or route should be helpful to prevent a future endemic or epidemic of HEV infection.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases