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Nature. 1992 Jan 23;355(6358):362-5.

Herpesvirus saimiri encodes homologues of G protein-coupled receptors and cyclins.

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  • 1Division of Virology, National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London, UK.


Herpesvirus saimiri (HVS) is a T-lymphotropic gammaherpesvirus which establishes asymptomatic infections in its natural host the squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciureus), but which causes fatal lymphoproliferative diseases in other New World primates. Sequencing studies show HVS is closely related to the human B-lymphotropic gammaherpesvirus Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). However, despite the general colinearity between the genomes of HVS and EBV, HVS contains genes not found in EBV or in the genomes of any of the other sequenced herpesviruses. We have identified two genes, occurring in a region of divergence between HVS and EBV, that have cellular homologues. One of these, ECRF3, is homologous to the genes encoding the human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) and cellular G protein-coupled receptor family of proteins. The other HVS gene, ECLF2, is homologous to the genes encoding cellular cyclins and to our knowledge is the first reported example of a viral cyclin. The presence of G protein-coupled receptor and cyclin homologues in HVS suggests that these genes may be important in the regulation of viral and cellular processes during productive and/or latent infection of host cells, and in particular may be of relevance in the transformation and rapid proliferation of T cells during HVS infections of hosts susceptible to HVS-induced lymphoproliferative diseases.

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