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J Virol. Aug 1994; 68(8): 5164–5173.
PMCID: PMC236460

European brown hare syndrome virus: relationship to rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus and other caliciviruses.


Monoclonal antibodies directed against the capsid protein of rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) were used to identify field cases of European brown hare syndrome (EBHS) and to distinguish between RHDV and the virus responsible for EBHS. Western blot (immunoblot) analysis of liver extract of an EBHS virus (EBHSV)-infected hare revealed a single major capsid protein species of approximately 60 kDa that shared epitopes with the capsid protein of RHDV. RNA isolated from the liver of an EBHSV-infected hare contained two viral RNA species of 7.5 and 2.2 kb that comigrated with the genomic and subgenomic RNAs of RHDV and were recognized by labeled RHDV cDNA in Northern (RNA) hybridizations. The nucleotide sequence of the 3' 2.8 kb of the EBHSV genome was determined from four overlapping cDNA clones. Sequence analysis revealed an open reading frame that contains part of the putative RNA polymerase gene and the complete capsid protein gene. This particular genome organization is shared by RHDV but not by other known caliciviruses. The deduced amino acid sequence of the capsid protein of EBHSV was compared with the capsid protein sequences of RDDV and other caliciviruses. The amino acid sequence comparisons revealed that EBHSV is closely related to RHDV and distantly related to other caliciviruses. On the basis of their genome organization, it is suggested that caliciviruses be divided into three groups.

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