Rabies and African countries(11). Most of the provinces in

Rabies virus is one of the most fatal viruses
which causes death in humans and other mammals
unless the
regular treatments were administrated properly(1). This virus is a member of Lyssavirus
genus from Rhabdoviridae family(2), and is a rod or bullet like
shaped, single stranded RNA, negative-sense, non-segmented and enveloped virus(3, 4). The genomic length of rabies virus is about 12 kb
and encodes five proteins consisting nucleoprotein (N), phosphoprotein (P),
matrix protein (M), glycoprotein (G), and a viral RNA polymerase (L)(2, 5, 6). Ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complex is composed of the nucleoprotein, phosphoprotein and polymerase(4). The matrix and the glycoprotein
involve in virus assembling and budding(7).
glycoprotein also acts as virus receptor and helps virus penetration into the
target cells(4). There are seven
recognized genotypes (GT) of lyssaviruses including rabies virus (RABV, GT1, and
the classical rabies disease agent), Lagos bat virus (LBV, GT2), Mokola virus
(MOKV, GT3), Duvenhage virus (DUVV, GT4), European bat lyssavirus types 1 and 2
(EBLV-1, GT5 and EBLV-2, GT6, respectively) and Australian bat lyssavirus
(ABLV, GT7). All genotypes except MOKV have bat reservoirs(8).Rabies infection transmits to the human through
the bite of rabid animals such as
dogs, raccoons, skunks, wolves, foxes and bats(2). Although
infection commonly occurs by a bite, the transmission may also happen via
infected eaten carcasses(9). This virus causes over 60000 human deaths every year all around the world(10). The major animals that play role in human rabies infection are different
from continent to continent. Most of the human rabies infections and deaths
mainly occur in developing Asian and African countries(11). Most of the provinces in Iran are infected with rabies virus, but most
infections happen in north, northwest and northeast regions(12).Vaccination plays an important role to control this zoonotic
disease(13, 14). By this method, neutralizing antibodies provide the
most effective adaptive immune response to control the infection, which are
produced against the RNP, and especially the G antigen (14-16).There are numbers of rabies vaccine
strains used for anti-rabies vaccine development, including RV-97,
RC-HL, Ni-Ce, Nishigahara (Nishi), Pittman-Moore (PM), SAD B19, SRV9, Evelyn
Rokitniki Abelseth (ERA), Pasteur Virus (PV), HEP-Flury, PM1503, LEP-Flury and
NNV-RAB-H (NNV)(17-19).The glycoprotein of rabies virus is
the most dominant antigen which has multiple major and minor antigenic sites.
Major antigenic site I harbors both conformational and linear epitopes and is
situated at position 226-231 of mature glycoprotein. Major antigenic site II involves
two stretches in position 34-42 and 198-200, major antigenic site III is a
continuous conformational epitope at residues 330-338, and epitope IV with one
amino acid is located at position 251. Minor antigenic site ”a” or G1 is at
position 342-343(20-25), and G5 is positioned between 261-264 residues
as another minor antigenic site. The amino acid at position 333 of the mature
glycoprotein is found to be associated with viral pathogenicity (25-27). Antigenic sites I and IV, and antigenic
sites II and III on the N protein are composed of linear and conformational dependent
epitopes, respectively (28). Antigenic sites I and IV are mapped to a region composed
of 24 amino acid residues in the C terminal part of the N protein(29). All three epitopes of antigenic site I and two epitopes of
site IV are positioned on 358-367 residues, and the other epitope of site IV is
mapped at 375-383 residues(30). In P protein, one antigenic site is mapped at position
191-206(31) and two more epitopes are located in position 75-90(32).

In this
study, the major and minor antigenic sites of glycoprotein (G) in addition of the nucleoprotein (N) and the phosphoprotein
(P) were compared to each other. The full genomes, N and G genes
identity matrix were drawn and the exact distance between strains were determined. In addition the N gene of vaccine strains
and N gene of wild type strains from most regions of the world were
analyzed by phylogenetic analysis and evaluation. The results of this
study can be helpful for phylogenetic comparison of the regular vaccine strains
with each other, and also with wild type strains. Besides this study may be
helpful for vaccine producers and researchers to compare the strains with wild
type and other vaccine strains and even select the correct strain for challenge
of their products. 

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