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J Virol. 1994 May;68(5):3007-14.

Structure and heterogeneity of the a sequences of human herpesvirus 6 strain variants U1102 and Z29 and identification of human telomeric repeat sequences at the genomic termini.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, United Kingdom.


The unit-length genome of human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) consists of a single unique component (U) bounded by direct repeats DRL and DRR and forms head-to-tail concatemers during productive infection. cis-elements which mediate cleavage and packaging of progeny virions (a sequences) are found at the termini of all herpesvirus genomes. In HHV-6, DRL and DRR are identical and a sequences may therefore also occur at the U-DR junctions to give the arrangement aDRLa-U-aDRRa. We have sequenced the genomic termini, the U-DRR junction, and the DRR.DRL junction of HHV-6 strain variants U1102 and Z29. A (GGGTTA)n motif identical to the human telomeric repeat sequence (TRS) was found adjacent to, but did not form, the termini of both strain variants. The DRL terminus and U-DRR junction contained sequences closely related to that of the well-conserved herpesvirus packaging signal Cn-Gn-Nn-Gn (pac-1), followed by tandem arrays of TRSs separated by single copies of a hexanucleotide repeat. HHV-6 strain U1102 contained repeat sequences not found in HHV-6 Z29. In contrast, the DRR terminus of both variants contained a simple tandem array of TRSs and a close homolog of a herpesvirus pac-2 signal (GCn-Tn-GCn). The DRR.DRL junction was formed by simple head-to-tail linkage of the termini, yielding an intact cleavage signal, pac-2.x.pac-1, where x is the putative cleavage site. The left end of DR was the site of intrastrain size heterogeneity which mapped to the putative a sequences. These findings suggest that TRSs form part of the a sequence of HHV-6 and that the arrangement of a sequences in the genome can be represented as aDRLa-U-a-DRRa.

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