Herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2), the principal causative agent of recurrent genital herpes, is a highly prevalent viral infection worldwide. Limited information is available on the amount of genomic DNA variation between HSV-2 strains because only two genomes have been determined, the HG52 laboratory strain and the newly sequenced SD90e low-passage-number clinical isolate strain, each from a different geographical area. In this study, we report the nearly complete genome sequences of 34 HSV-2 lowpassage- number and laboratory strains, 14 of which were collected in Uganda, 1 in South Africa, 11 in the United States, and 8 in Japan. Our analyses of these genomes demonstrated remarkable sequence conservation, regardless of geographic origin, with the maximum nucleotide divergence between strains being 0.4% across the genome. In contrast, prior studies indicated that HSV-1 genomes exhibit more sequence diversity, as well as geographical clustering. Additionally, unlike HSV-1, little viral recombination between HSV-2 strains could be substantiated. These results are interpreted in light of HSV-2 evolution, epidemiology, and pathogenesis. Finally, the newly generated sequences more closely resemble the low-passage-number SD90e than HG52, supporting the use of the former as the new reference genome of HSV-2.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science