Commenced in January 2007
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Paper Count: 2

Search results for: Lieselot Houspie

2 Unifying RSV Evolutionary Dynamics and Epidemiology Through Phylodynamic Analyses

Authors: Lydia Tan, Philippe Lemey, Lieselot Houspie, Marco Viveen, Darren Martin, Frank Coenjaerts


Introduction: Human respiratory syncytial virus (hRSV) is the leading cause of severe respiratory tract infections in infants under the age of two. Genomic substitutions and related evolutionary dynamics of hRSV are of great influence on virus transmission behavior. The evolutionary patterns formed are due to a precarious interplay between the host immune response and RSV, thereby selecting the most viable and less immunogenic strains. Studying genomic profiles can teach us which genes and consequent proteins play an important role in RSV survival and transmission dynamics. Study design: In this study, genetic diversity and evolutionary rate analysis were conducted on 36 RSV subgroup B whole genome sequences and 37 subgroup A genome sequences. Clinical RSV isolates were obtained from nasopharyngeal aspirates and swabs of children between 2 weeks and 5 years old of age. These strains, collected during epidemic seasons from 2001 to 2011 in the Netherlands and Belgium by either conventional or 454-sequencing. Sequences were analyzed for genetic diversity, recombination events, synonymous/non-synonymous substitution ratios, epistasis, and translational consequences of mutations were mapped to known 3D protein structures. We used Bayesian statistical inference to estimate the rate of RSV genome evolution and the rate of variability across the genome. Results: The A and B profiles were described in detail and compared to each other. Overall, the majority of the whole RSV genome is highly conserved among all strains. The attachment protein G was the most variable protein and its gene had, similar to the non-coding regions in RSV, more elevated (two-fold) substitution rates than other genes. In addition, the G gene has been identified as the major target for diversifying selection. Overall, less gene and protein variability was found within RSV-B compared to RSV-A and most protein variation between the subgroups was found in the F, G, SH and M2-2 proteins. For the F protein mutations and correlated amino acid changes are largely located in the F2 ligand-binding domain. The small hydrophobic phosphoprotein and nucleoprotein are the most conserved proteins. The evolutionary rates were similar in both subgroups (A: 6.47E-04, B: 7.76E-04 substitution/site/yr), but estimates of the time to the most recent common ancestor were much lower for RSV-B (B: 19, A: 46.8 yrs), indicating that there is more turnover in this subgroup. Conclusion: This study provides a detailed description of whole RSV genome mutations, the effect on translation products and the first estimate of the RSV genome evolution tempo. The immunogenic G protein seems to require high substitution rates in order to select less immunogenic strains and other conserved proteins are most likely essential to preserve RSV viability. The resulting G gene variability makes its protein a less interesting target for RSV intervention methods. The more conserved RSV F protein with less antigenic epitope shedding is, therefore, more suitable for developing therapeutic strategies or vaccines.

Keywords: drug target selection, epidemiology, respiratory syncytial virus, RSV

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1 Determining the Distance Consumers Are Willing to Travel to a Store: A Structural Equation Model Approach

Authors: Fuseina Mahama, Lieselot Vanhaverbeke


This research investigates the impact of patronage determinants on the distance consumers are willing to travel to patronize a tire shop. Although store patronage has been acknowledged as an important domain and has received substantial research interest, most of the studies so far conducted focus on grocery retail, leaving other categories of goods widely unexplored. In this study, we focus on car tires and provide a new perspective to the specific factors that influence tire shop patronage. An online survey of consumers’ tyre purchasing behaviour was conducted among private car owners in Belgium. A sample of 864 respondents was used in the study, with almost four out of five of them being male. 84% of the respondents had purchased a car tyre in the last 24 months and on average travelled 22.4kms to patronise a tyre shop. We tested the direct and mediated effects of store choice determinants on distance consumers are willing to travel. All hypotheses were tested using Structural Equation Modelling (SEM). Our findings show that with an increase in the consumer’s age the distance they were willing to travel to a tire shop decreased. Similarly, consumers who deemed proximity an important determinant of a tire shop our findings confirmed a negative effect on willingness to travel. On the other hand, the determinants price, personal contact and professionalism all had a positive effect on distance. This means that consumers actively sought out tire shops with these characteristics and were willing to travel longer distances in order to visit them. The indirect effects of the determinants flexible opening hours, family recommendation, dealer reputation, receiving auto service at home and availability of preferred brand on distance are mediated by dealer trust. Gender had a minimal effect on distance, with females exhibiting a stronger relation in terms of dealer trust as compared to males. Overall, we found that market relevant factors were better predictors of distance; and proximity, dealer trust and professionalism have the most profound effects on distance that consumers are willing to travel. This is related to the fact that the nature of shopping goods (among which are car tires) typically reinforces consumers to be more engaged in the shopping process, therefore factors that have to do with the store (e.g. location) and shopping process play a key role in store choice decision. These findings are very specific to shopping goods and cannot be generalized to other categories of goods. For marketers and retailers these findings can have direct implications on their location strategies. The factors found to be relevant to tire shop patronage will be used in our next study to calibrate a location model to be utilised to identify the optimum location for siting new tyre shop outlets and service centres.

Keywords: dealer trust, distance to store, tire store patronage, willingness to travel

Procedia PDF Downloads 166