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J Virol. 1986 Sep;59(3):591-604.

Terminal structure and heterogeneity in human cytomegalovirus strain AD169.


We have characterized the heterogeneity occurring at the junction of the long (L) and short (S) segments and at the termini of the strain AD169 human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) genome by restriction endonuclease mapping and nucleotide sequence analyses. The HCMV a sequence was identified by its position at both termini and inverted orientation at the L-S junction. Heterogeneity at both termini and the L-S junction was generated by the presence of fused and tandem a sequences. Some S termini lacked an a sequence. In addition, near the L terminus and at the L-S junction there were a variable number of 217-base-pair (bp) XhoI fragments arranged in tandem. The 217-bp fragments consisted of a portion of the a and adjacent b sequences (in the L-segment repeat) bounded by the same direct repeats (DR1) found at the boundaries of the a sequence. A model for the generation of these heterogeneous fragments is presented. We also determined the sequence of seven cloned terminal fragments, five from the L terminus and two from the S terminus. All L termini contained identical terminal sequences ending with base 32 of a 33-bp DR1. The S termini differed from each other and from the L-segment termini. One S terminus lacked an a sequence and terminated within S-segment repeat (c) sequences. The second S terminus contained an a sequence and terminated with bases 20 to 33 of a 33-bp DR1. A comparison of the cloned L and S terminal sequences with cloned L-S junction sequences suggested that the termini contained 3' single base extensions which were removed during the cloning. We also show that the herpesvirus conserved sequence is in a similar position relative to the termini of HCMV and several other herpesviruses, thus adding further support for the role of the sequence in the maturation of viral DNA.

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