Enterovirus 71 (EV71) is a major cause of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD). The current EV71 propagating in Vero (EV-V) or sub-passaged in RD (EV-R) cells was used as a pathogen. Interestingly, EV-R exhibited differential virulence; challenging human scavenger receptor class B2-expressing (hSCARB2-Tg) mice with EV71 revealed that EV-V was more virulent than EV-R: 100% of mice that received lethal amounts of EV-V died, while all the mice that received EV-R survived. Severe pathogenesis correlated with viral burdens and proinflammatory cytokine levels were observed in EV-V-challenged mice, but controversy in EV-R-challenged mice. Consensus sequence analysis revealed EV-R rapidly acquired complete mutations at E145G and S241L and partial mutations at V146I of VP1, and acquired a T to C substitution at nucleotide 494 of the 5′-UTR. EV-R exhibited higher binding affinity for another EV71 receptor, human P-selectin glycoprotein ligand-1 (hPSGL-1), than EV-V. Both EV71s exhibited no significant difference in binding to hSCARB2. The molecular modelling indicate that these mutations might influence EV71 engagement with PSGL-1 and in vivo virulence.
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