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Virology. 1997 Sep 1;235(2):414-8.

Completion of the Lassa fever virus sequence and identification of a RING finger open reading frame at the L RNA 5' End.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Wisconsin Medical School, 1300 University Avenue, Madison, Wisconsin, 53706, USA.


Lassa (LAS) fever virus is a highly pathogenic arenavirus with large (L) and small (S) RNA genomic segments. The 5' end of the LAS L segment is described here, thereby completing the sequence of the most virulent arenavirus analyzed to date. In keeping with the ambisense gene structure of the arenaviruses, the LAS L RNA encodes a 250-kDa protein and an 11-kDa protein in opposite senses with respect to each other. The 11-kDa protein, defined previously in arenaviruses lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM), Tacaribe (TAC), and Pichinde (PIC), contains a RING type of zinc-binding structure. Expression of the 11-kDa protein in LAS virus-infected cells has been confirmed by binding to peptide-specific antibody.

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