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J Virol. 2012 Mar;86(5):2390-9. doi: 10.1128/JVI.06614-11. Epub 2011 Dec 14.

Espirito Santo virus: a new birnavirus that replicates in insect cells.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Structural Biochemistry, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.


Espirito Santo virus (ESV) is a newly discovered virus recovered as contamination in a sample of a virulent strain of dengue-2 virus (strain 44/2), which was recovered from a patient in the state of Espirito Santo, Brazil, and amplified in insect cells. ESV was found to be dependent upon coinfection with a virulent strain of dengue-2 virus and to replicate in C6/36 insect cells but not in mammalian Vero cells. A sequence of the genome has been produced by de novo assembly and was not found to match to any known viral sequence. An incomplete match to the nucleotide sequence of the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase from Drosophila X virus (DXV), another birnavirus, could be detected. Mass spectrometry analysis of ESV proteins found no matches in the protein data banks. However, peptides recovered by mass spectrometry corresponded to the de novo-assembled sequence by BLAST analysis. The composition and three-dimensional structure of ESV are presented, and its sequence is compared to those of other members of the birnavirus family. Although the virus was found to belong to the family Birnaviridae, biochemical and sequence information for ESV differed from that of DXV, the representative species of the genus Entomobirnavirus. Thus, significant differences underscore the uniqueness of this infectious agent, and its relationship to the coinfecting virus is discussed.

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