Recent molecular evolution of human metapneumovirus (HMPV): Subdivision of HMPV a2b strains

Naganori Nao, Miwako Saikusa, Ko Sato, Tsuyoshi Sekizuka, Shuzo Usuku, Nobuko Tanaka, Hidekazu Nishimura, Makoto Takeda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Human metapneumovirus (HMPV) is a major etiological agent of acute respiratory infections in humans. HMPV has been circulating worldwide for more than six decades and is currently divided into five agreed-upon subtypes: A1, A2a, A2b, B1, and B2. Recently, the novel HMPV subtypes A2c, A2b1, and A2b2 have been proposed. However, the phylogenetic and evolutionary relationships between these recently proposed HMPV subtypes are unclear. Here, we report a genome-wide phylogenetic and evolutionary analysis of 161 HMPV strains, including unique HMPV subtype A2b strains with a 180-or 111-nucleotide duplication in the G gene (nt-dup). Our data demonstrate that the HMPV A2b subtype contains two distinct subtypes, A2b1 and A2b2, and that the HMPV subtypes A2c and A2b2 may be different names for the same subtype. HMPV A2b strains with a nt-dup also belong to subtype A2b2. Molecular evolutionary analyses indicate that subtypes A2b1 and A2b2 diverged from subtype A2b around a decade after the subtype A2 was divided into the subtypes A2a and A2b. These data support the A2b1 and A2b2 subtypes proposed in 2012 and are essential for the unified classification of HMPV subtype A2 strains, which is important for future HMPV surveillance and epidemiological studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1280
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Sept


  • HMPV
  • Human metapneumovirus
  • Molecular epidemiology
  • Molecular evolution
  • Nucleotide duplication
  • Subtyping


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