Variable immune-driven natural selection in the attachment (G) glycoprotein of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)

J Mol Evol. 2001 Feb;52(2):182-92. doi: 10.1007/s002390010147.


A maximum-likelihood analysis of selection pressures acting on the attachment (G) glycoprotein gene of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) from humans (HRSV) and bovines (BRSV) is presented. Six positively selected sites were identified in both group A and group B of HRSV, although only one site was common between them, while no positively selected sites were detected in BRSV. All positively selected sites were located within the ectodomain of the G protein and showed some association with positions of immunoglobulin (Ig) epitopes and sites of O-glycosylation. These results suggest that immune (antibody)-driven natural selection is an important determinant of RSV evolution and that this selection pressure differs among strains. The passage histories of RSV strains were also shown to affect the distribution of positively selected sites, particularly in HRSV B, and should be considered whenever retrospective analysis of adaptive evolution is undertaken.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Codon
  • Databases, Factual
  • Humans
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Respiratory Syncytial Viruses / chemistry
  • Respiratory Syncytial Viruses / genetics*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Viruses / immunology
  • Selection, Genetic*
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA*
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / chemistry
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / genetics*
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / immunology
  • Viral Fusion Proteins / chemistry
  • Viral Fusion Proteins / genetics*
  • Viral Fusion Proteins / immunology
  • Viral Proteins / chemistry
  • Viral Proteins / genetics*
  • Viral Proteins / immunology


  • Codon
  • Viral Envelope Proteins
  • Viral Fusion Proteins
  • Viral Proteins