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EMBO J. 1993 Jul;12(7):2977-87.

Polyprotein processing in African swine fever virus: a novel gene expression strategy for a DNA virus.

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Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa (CSIC-UAM), Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Autónoma, Madrid, Spain.


This report shows that African swine fever virus (ASFV)--a large DNA-containing virus--synthesizes a polyprotein to produce several of its structural proteins. By immunoprecipitation analysis, we have found that ASFV polyprotein is a 220 kDa myristoylated polypeptide (pp220) which, after proteolytic processing, gives rise to four major structural proteins: p150, p37, p34 and p14. Processing of the ASFV polyprotein takes place at the consensus sequence Gly-Gly-X and occurs through an ordered cascade of proteolytic cleavages. So far, polyprotein processing as a mechanism of gene expression had been found only in positive-strand RNA viruses and retroviruses. According to the results presented here, ASFV is the first example of a DNA virus that synthesizes a polyprotein as a strategy of gene expression.

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