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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 May 23;97(11):6091-6.

The complete unique long sequence and the overall genomic organization of the GA strain of Marek's disease virus.

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United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, Avian Disease and Oncology Laboratory, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA.


We have determined the DNA sequence of the unique long (UL) region and the repeat long (RL) region in the genome of serotype 1 GA strain of Marek's disease virus (MDV), a member of the alpha-herpesvirus family. With this information, the complete nucleotide sequence of GA-MDV is now known. The entire GA-MDV genome is predicted to be about 174 kbp in size, with an organization of TRL-UL-IRL-IRS-US-TRS, typical of a alpha-herpesvirus. The UL sequence contains 113,508 bp and has a base composition of 41.7% G + C. A total of 67 ORFs were identified completely within the UL region, among which 55 are homologous to genes encoded by herpes simplex virus-1. Twelve of them are unique with presently unknown functions. The sequence of RL reported here together with those published earlier reveal the major structural features of the RL. Virtually all of the ORFs encoded by RL are specific to serotype I of MDV. These ORFs are likely to contribute to some of the unique biological properties of MDV. Among the proteins encoded by MDV-specific ORFs are Meq, a jun/fos family of transcriptional factor implicated in transformation and latency, virus-encoded interleukin-8, a CXC chemokine, and pp38 and pp24, two phosphoproteins with undefined functions. There is also a putative lipase gene (LORF2) that has homologies in HPRS-24 (serotype II) strain of MDV and in various avian adenoviruses. An additional unique feature of MDV is the presence of long terminal repeat remnant sequences of avian retrovirus reticuloendotheliosis virus. These remnant sequences are derived from the U3-enhancer region through ancestral insertions by reticuloendotheliosis virus proviruses.

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