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Virology. 1988 Aug;165(2):565-76.

Completion of the rabies virus genome sequence determination: highly conserved domains among the L (polymerase) proteins of unsegmented negative-strand RNA viruses.

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Unité Rage Recherche, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.


We have now completed the rabies genome structure by the cloning and the sequencing of the entire L gene and the 5' untranscribed region. The L gene encodes a single open reading frame 2142 amino acids in length (244,206 Da) that corresponds to the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. In contrast with other isofunctional proteins, the rabies polymerase exhibits a high degree of homology with the vesicular stomatitis virus polymerase, and a lesser degree, although significant, with those of Sendai virus and Newcastle disease virus, which suggests a differential evolution of the different cistrons. We have observed several strongly conserved stretches which may designate the independent functional domains of this multifunctional protein. In addition to the conservation of related transcription signals (N. Tordo et al. (1986) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 83, 3914-3918.), this highlights the striking selective pressure on elements involved in transcription and replication mechanisms, and provides further evidence for a common ancestry of Rhabdoviridae and Paramyxoviridae families. The terminal complementarity observed in the rabies genome suggests the conservation of important genomic signals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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