Exploring the Genetic Diversity and Molecular Evolution of Seoul and Hantaan Orthohantaviruses

Atanas V. Demirev, Sangyi Lee, Sejik Park, Hyunbeen Kim, Seunghye Cho, Kyuyoung Lee, Kisoon Kim, Jin Won Song, Man Seong Park, Jin Il Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Seoul (SEOV) and Hantaan (HTNV) orthohantaviruses are significant zoonotic pathogens responsible for hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome. Here, we investigated the molecular evolution of SEOV and HTNV through phylogenetic and bioinformatic analyses using complete genome sequences of their large (L), medium (M), and small (S) gene segments. Despite similar epizootic cycles and clinical symptoms, SEOV and HTNV exhibited distinct genetic and evolutionary dynamics. The phylogenetic trees of each segment consistently showed major genetic clades associated with the geographical distribution of both viruses. Remarkably, SEOV M and S segments exhibit higher evolutionary rates, rapidly increasing genetic diversity, and a more recent origin in contrast to HTNV. Reassortment events were infrequent, but both viruses appear to utilize the M gene segment in genetic exchanges. SEOV favors the L or M segment reassortment, while HTNV prefers the M or S segment exchange. Purifying selection dominates in all three gene segments of both viruses, yet SEOV experiences an elevated positive selection in its glycoprotein Gc ectodomain. Key amino acid differences, including a positive ‘lysine fence’ (through residues K77, K82, K231, K307, and K310) located at the tip of the Gn, alongside the physical stability around an RGD-like motif through M108-F334 interaction, may contribute to the unique antigenic properties of SEOV. With the increasing global dispersion and potential implications of SEOV for the global public health landscape, this study highlights the unique evolutionary dynamics and antigenic properties of SEOV and HTNV in informing vaccine design and public health preparedness.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Jan

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 by the authors.


  • Hantaan virus
  • Seoul virus
  • evolution
  • phylogeny
  • reassortment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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