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Virology. 1994 May 1;200(2):715-23.

Genome structure and variability of a virus causing hantavirus pulmonary syndrome.

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Special Pathogens Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333.


A previously unrecognized hantavirus (family Bunyaviridae) has recently been detected and shown to be associated with a severe respiratory illness with high mortality, termed hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). This disease has now been identified throughout the western United States. We present nucleotide sequence characterization of the three RNA segments composing the HPS virus genome and address the question of the apparent emergence of this highly lethal virus. No evidence of genetic reassortment with previously recognized hantaviruses was found, each RNA segment being unique and approximately 30% different at the nucleotide level to the segments of the closest relative, Prospect Hill virus. These findings, together with the observed extensive genetic diversity of HPS viruses and examples of geographic clustering of distinct virus genotypes, suggest that HPS and associated virus have likely existed undetected for many years. The virus genome M segment was determined to be 3696 nucleotides in length and encode G1 and G2 proteins, 652 and 488 amino acids in length. The S segment was found to be 2059 nucleotides in length and to encode a nucleocapsid protein, 428 amino acids in length. S segment analysis also revealed an unusually long noncoding region with numerous repeats and evidence for a potential NSS protein encoded in an overlapping frame.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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