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Comp Med. 2003 Apr;53(2):191-6.

Genetic analysis of a Theiler-like virus isolated from rats.

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Laboratory Animal Center for Biomedical Research, Nagasaki University School of Medicine 1-12-4 Sakamoto, Nagasaki, 855-858, Japan.


Although cardioviruses related to Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV) appear to be common in mice and rats, few TMEV isolates have been obtained from rat colonies. In 1991, a cardiovirus isolate designated NGS910 was obtained from sentinel rats exposed to cage bedding previously used by adult rats that were TMEV seropositive, but had never manifested clinical signs of disease. To determine to which group and subgroup of cardiovirus this virus belongs, the sequence of the viral genome was determined. The NGS910 genome consisted of 8,021 nucleotides and the 5'-nontranslated region had a predicted secondary structure that is similar to members of the TMEV group of cardioviruses. The Leader-P3D open reading frame (L ORF) of NGS910 had strong homology with L ORFs of other TMEVs (72% identity), but lower homology with EMCV cardioviruses (55 to 56%). Phylogenetic analyses on the basis of aligned nucleotide sequences of the L ORF (6,924 b) and the internal L* ORF (471 b) supported this classification of NGS910 as a TMEV strain. However, within the TMEV group, NGS910 wassufficiently divergent from other isolates that it could not be regarded as simply a mutant strain of a known TMEV. As genetic distances between NGS910 and other TMEVs were greater than those between Mengo virus of EMCV and other EMCVs, we propose to designate the NGS910 isolate as a rat Theiler-like virus.

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