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Virology. 2012 Sep 15-30;431(1-2):50-7. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2012.05.011. Epub 2012 Jun 9.

Rotavirus RNA polymerases resolve into two phylogenetically distinct classes that differ in their mechanism of template recognition.

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Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.


Rotaviruses (RVs) are segmented double-stranded RNA viruses that cause gastroenteritis in mammals and birds. Within the RV genus, eight species (RVA-RVH) have been proposed. Here, we report the first RVF and RVG sequences for the viral RNA polymerase (VP1)-encoding segments and compare them to those of other RV species. Phylogenetic analyses indicate that the VP1 RNA segments and proteins resolve into two major clades, with RVA, RVC, RVD and RVF in clade A, and RVB, RVG and RVH in clade B. Plus-strand RNA of clade A viruses, and not clade B viruses, contain a 3'-proximal UGUG cassette that serves as the VP1 recognition signal. VP1 structures for a representative of each RV species were predicted using homology modeling. Structural elements involved in interactions with the UGUG cassette were conserved among VP1 of clade A, suggesting a conserved mechanism of viral RNA recognition for these viruses.

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