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Virology. 1993 Mar;193(1):329-39.

Molecular characterization of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus, a member of the arterivirus group.

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Federal Research Centre for Virus Diseases of Animals, Tübingen, Federal Republic of Germany.


Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV)-specific cDNA clones spanning the 3' terminal 5 kb of the genomic RNA were isolated, sequenced, and used as probes for identification of PRRSV-specific RNAs. The PRRSV genome is a positive-stranded polyadenylated RNA of about 15 kb. In infected cells, a 3' coterminal nested set of six major subgenomic mRNAs could be demonstrated. Within the 3' terminal 3.5 kb of the PRRSV genome, six overlapping reading frames (ORFs) were identified, each most likely expressed by one of the subgenomic mRNAs. Amino acid sequence comparisons revealed that the most 3' terminal ORF (ORF7) encodes the PRRSV nucleocapsid protein with a calculated molecular weight of 14 kDa. It displays 44.8% amino acid identity with the capsid protein of lactate dehydrogenase-elevating virus (LDV) and 23.6% with that of equine arteritis virus (EAV). The product of ORF6, the second 3' terminal ORF, represents a putative membrane protein and exhibits 53.2 and 27.2% amino acid identity with the corresponding LDV and EAV polypeptides, respectively. Similar to EAV, ORFs 2 through 5 might encode glycosylated viral proteins. The polypeptide deduced from the most 5' ORF (ORF1b) contains two conserved domains common to EAV and coronavirus polymerases. Genome organization, strategy of gene expression, and the sequence of deduced proteins show that PRRSV belongs to the Arterivirus group of viruses.

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