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Human cytomegalovirus genome.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544-1014, USA.


Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) contains a large and complex E-type genome. There are both clinical isolates of the virus that have been passaged minimally in fibroblasts and so-called laboratory strains that have been extensively passaged and adapted to growth in fibroblasts. The genomes of laboratory strains have undergone rearrangements. To date, the genomes of five clinical isolates have been sequenced. We have re-evaluated the coding content of clinical isolates by identifying the set of open reading frames (ORFs) that are conserved in all five sequenced clinical isolates. We have further determined which of these ORFs are present in the chimpanzee cytomegalovirus (CCMV) genome. A total of 173 ORFs are present in all HCMV genomes and the CCMV genome, and we conclude that these ORFs are very likely to be functional. An additional 59 ORFs are present in the genomes of all five HCMV isolates, but not in CCMV. We have discounted 26 of this latter set of ORFs, because they reside in regions of the genome unlikely to encode functional ORFs. The remaining 33 ORFs are potentially functional ORFs that are specific to HCMV.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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