J Vet Sci.  2011 Mar;12(1):57-63. 10.4142/jvs.2011.12.1.57.

Molecular characterization of Korean rabies virus isolates

  • 1National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service, Anyang 430-824, Korea. yangdk@nvrqs.go.kr
  • 2Gangwon-do Veterinary Service Laboratory, Chuncheon 200-822, Korea.


The nucleoprotein (N) and glycoprotein (G) of 11 Korean rabies virus (RABV) isolates collected from animals diagnosed with rabies between 2008 and 2009 were subjected to molecular and phylogenetic analyses. Six isolates originated from domestic animals (cattle and dogs) and five were obtained from wild free-ranging raccoon dogs. The similarities in the nucleotide sequences of the N gene among all Korean isolates ranged from 98.1 to 99.8%, while those of the G gene ranged from 97.9 to 99.3%. Based on the nucleotide analysis of the N and G genes, the Korean RABV isolates were confirmed as genotype I of Lyssavirus and classified into four distinct subgroups with high similarity. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the Korean isolates were most closely related to the non-Korean NeiMeng1025B and 857r strains, which were isolated from rabid raccoon dogs in Eastern China and Russia, respectively. These findings suggest that the Korean RABV isolates originated from a rabid raccoon dog in Northeastern Asia. Genetic analysis of the Korean RABV isolates revealed no substitutions at several antigenic sites, indicating that the isolates circulating in Korea may be pathogenic in several hosts.


characterization; genotype I; molecular epidemiology; rabies virus

MeSH Terms

Base Sequence
Cattle Diseases/epidemiology/virology
Dog Diseases/epidemiology/virology
Molecular Sequence Data
Rabies virus/classification/*genetics/pathogenicity
Raccoon Dogs/*virology
Republic of Korea
Sequence Analysis, DNA
Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid


  • Fig. 1 Map of Far East Asia and Korea showing the geographical location from which the rabies viruses were obtained. The isolates circled in Far East Asia showed high nucleotide similarity.

  • Fig. 2 Phylogenetic analysis based on the complete N gene nucleotide sequences of the isolates and other sequences obtained from the GenBank database. Numbers at each key node indicate the degree of bootstrap support and only those with >70% support are shown.

  • Fig. 3 Phylogenetic analysis based on the complete G gene nucleotide sequences of the isolates and other sequences obtained from the GenBank database. Numbers at each key node indicate degree of bootstrap support and only those with >70% support are indicated.

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