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Virus Genes. 1994 Jan;8(1):55-69.

Open reading frames in a 4556 nucleotide sequence within MDV-1 BamHI-D DNA fragment: evidence for splicing of mRNA from a new viral glycoprotein gene.

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Department of Molecular Virology, Faculty of Medicine, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.


A DNA segment of the MDV-1 BamHI-D fragment was sequenced, and the open reading frames (ORFs) present in the 4556 nucleotide fragment were analyzed by computer programs. Computer analysis identified 19 putative ORFs in the sequence ranging from a coding capacity of 37 amino acids (aa) (ORF-1a) to 684aa (ORF-1). The special properties of four ORFs (1a, 1, 2, and 3) were investigated. Two adjacent ORFs, ORF-1a and ORF-1, were found by computer analysis to have the properties of two introns encoding a glycoprotein: ORF-1a encodes an aa sequence with the properties of a signal peptide, and ORF-1 encodes a polypeptide with a membrane anchor domain and putative N-glycosylation sites in the aa sequence. ORF-1a and ORF-1 were found to be transcribed in MDV-1-infected cells. Two RNA transcripts were detected: a precursor RNA and its spliced form. Both are transcribed from a promoter located 5' to ORF-1a, and splice donor and acceptor sites are used to splice the mRNA after cleavage of a 71-nucleotide sequence. This finding suggest that ORF-1a and ORF-1 are two introns of a new MDV-1 glycoprotein gene. The DNA sequence containing ORF-1 was transiently expressed in COS-1 cells, and the viral protein produced in these cells was found to react with anti-MDV serotype-1 Antigen B-specific monoclonal antibodies. These studies indicate that the protein encoded by ORF-1 has antigenic properties resembling Antigen B of MDV-1. A gene homologous to ORF-1 was detected in the genome of both MDV-2(SB1) and MDV-3(HVT), which serve as commercial vaccine strains. Two additional ORFs were noted in the 4556 nucleotide sequence: ORF-2, which encodes a 333 aa polypeptide initiating in the UL and terminating in the TRL prior to the putative origin of replication, and ORF-3, which encodes a 155 aa polypeptide that is partly homologous to the phosphoprotein pp38 encoded by the BamHI-H sequence. The 65 N-terminal aa of the two gene products are identical, both being derived from the nucleotide sequences in the TRL and IRL, respectively. Additional homologous aa sequences are the hydrophobic aa domain in the middle of both proteins. The functions of ORF-2, ORF-3, and additional ORFs are under study.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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