Enteroviruses are environmental triggers in the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM). A sequence of six identical amino acids (PEVKEK) is shared by the 2C protein of Coxsackie virus B and the glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) molecules. Between 1995 and 2002, we investigated 22 Coxsackie virus B5 (CVB5) isolates from southern Taiwan. Four of these isolates were obtained from four new-onset type 1 DM patients with diabetic ketoacidosis. We compared a 300 nucleotide sequence in the 2C protein gene (p2C) in 24 CVB5 isolates (4 diabetogenic, 18 non-diabetogenic and 2 prototype). We found 0.3-10% nucleotide differences. In the four isolates from type 1 DM patients, there was only 2.4-3.4% nucleotide difference, and there was only 1.7-7.1% nucleotide difference between type 1 DM isolates and non-diabetogenic isolates. Comparison of the nucleotide sequence between prototype virus and 22 CVB5 isolates revealed 18.4-24.1% difference. Twenty-one CVB5 isolates from type 1 DM and non-type 1 DM patients contained the PEVKEK sequence, as shown by the p2C nucleotide sequence. Our data showed that the viral p2C sequence with homology with GAD is highly conserved in CVB5 isolates. There was no difference between diabetogenic and non-diabetogenic CVB5 isolates. All four type 1 DM patients had at least one of the genetic susceptibility alleles HLA-DR, DQA1, DQB1. Other genetic and autoimmune factors such as HLA genetic susceptibility and GAD may also play important roles in the pathogenesis in type 1 DM.