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J Gen Virol. 2003 Mar;84(Pt 3):657-63.

Homology between the human cytomegalovirus RL11 gene family and human adenovirus E3 genes.

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  • 1MRC Virology Unit, Institute of Virology, Church Street, Glasgow G11 5JR, Scotland, UK.


A significant proportion of the human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) genome comprises 12 multigene families that probably arose by gene duplication. One, the RL11 family, contains 12 members, most of which are predicted to encode membrane glycoproteins. Comparisons of sequences near the left end of the genome in several HCMV strains revealed two adjacent open reading frames that potentially encode related proteins: RL6, which is hypervariable, and RL5A, which has not been recognized previously. These genes potentially encode a domain that is the hallmark of proteins encoded by the RL11 family, and thus constitute two new members. A homologous domain is also present in a subset of human adenovirus E3 membrane glycoproteins. Evolution of genes specifying the shared domain in cytomegaloviruses and adenoviruses is characterized by extensive divergence, gene duplication and selective sequence loss. These features prompt speculation about the roles of these genes in the two virus families.

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