Molecular characterization of haemagglutinin-neuraminidase gene among virulent Newcastle disease viruses isolated in Iran

Document Type : Full paper (Original article)


1 Graduated from Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Avian Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

3 Avian Diseases Research and Diagnosis Department, Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute, Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), Karaj, Iran

4 Quality Control Management, Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute, Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), Karaj, Iran


Background: Virulent Newcastle disease virus (vNDV) causes great economic losses to the poultry industry throughout the world. Despite the endemicity of Newcastle disease (ND) and occurrence of recurrent outbreaks, the nature and genetic features of circulating NDV strains in Iran are largely unknown. Aims: This study was conducted to characterize 13 NDV isolates obtained from different outbreaks in various regions of Iran during 1999-2000 by sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of complete coding sequences of haemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN) gene. Methods: All isolates were analyzed based on the previously determined in vivo pathogenicity indices and amino acid (aa) sequences of fusion (F) protein cleavage site (FPCS). Results: Phylogenetic analysis based on the HN gene coding region revealed a very close relationship of these viruses with the recently defined genotype XIII, and more specifically, subgenotype XIIIa viruses. Analysis of HN gene nucleotide (nt) sequences revealed that all studied isolates encode for a protein length of 571 aa and there is no C-terminal extension on HN aa sequences. Sequence analysis revealed multiple aa residue substitutions at antigenic sites or neutralizing epitopes on the HN glycoprotein of studied viruses compared with commonly used vaccinal strains. Conclusion: In this study, molecular characterization of vNDV isolates, obtained from commercial poultry farms in Iran, were conducted through complete sequencing and analysis of HN gene. Isolation and molecular characterization of further NDV isolates from other parts of Iran and from neighboring countries in the region will be helpful to identify the nature and origin of indigenous viruses.


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