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J Virol. 2000 Sep;74(17):7980-8.

The genome of a very virulent Marek's disease virus.

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Plum Island Animal Disease Center, Agricultural Research Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture, Greenport, New York 11944, USA.


Here we present the first complete genomic sequence, with analysis, of a very virulent strain of Marek's disease virus serotype 1 (MDV1), Md5. The genome is 177,874 bp and is predicted to encode 103 proteins. MDV1 is colinear with the prototypic alphaherpesvirus herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) within the unique long (UL) region, and it is most similar at the amino acid level to MDV2, herpesvirus of turkeys (HVT), and nonavian herpesviruses equine herpesviruses 1 and 4. MDV1 encodes 55 HSV-1 UL homologues together with 6 additional UL proteins that are absent in nonavian herpesviruses. The unique short (US) region is colinear with and has greater than 99% nucleotide identity to that of MDV1 strain GA; however, an extra nucleotide sequence at the Md5 US/short terminal repeat boundary results in a shorter US region and the presence of a second gene (encoding MDV097) similar to the SORF2 gene. MD5, like HVT, encodes an ICP4 homologue that contains a 900-amino-acid amino-terminal extension not found in other herpesviruses. Putative virulence and host range gene products include the oncoprotein MEQ, oncogenicity-associated phosphoproteins pp38 and pp24, a lipase homologue, a CxC chemokine, and unique proteins of unknown function MDV087 and MDV097 (SORF2 homologues) and MDV093 (SORF4). Consistent with its virulent phenotype, Md5 contains only two copies of the 132-bp repeat which has previously been associated with viral attenuation and loss of oncogenicity.

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