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J Gen Virol. 2003 Nov;84(Pt 11):3115-3120. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.19357-0.

Major changes in the G protein of human respiratory syncytial virus isolates introduced by a duplication of 60 nucleotides.

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Centro de Educación Médica e Investigaciones Clínicas, CEMIC, Hospital Universitario, Av. Galván 4102, Buenos Aires C1431FWO, Argentina.
Unidad de Biología Viral, Centro Nacional de Microbiología, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Majadahonda, 28220 Madrid, Spain.


The entire nucleotide sequence of the G gene of three human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV) isolates (antigenic group B) has been determined. These three viruses (named BA viruses) were isolated in Buenos Aires in 1999 from specimens collected in different hospitals and at different dates. BA viruses have an exact duplication of 60 nucleotides in the G gene, starting after residue 791. This duplication is flanked by a repeat of four nucleotides (GUGU) and can fold into a relatively stable secondary structure. These features suggest a possible mechanism for the generation of a duplicated G segment. The predicted polypeptide is lengthened by 20 amino acids (residues 260-279) and this is reflected in the slower electrophoretic mobility of the G protein precursor of BA viruses compared with related viruses. The changes reported here expand the examples of drastic genetic alterations that can be introduced into the G protein sequence of HRSV while it replicates in its natural host.

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