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Virology. 1998 Apr 10;243(2):432-60.

The genomic sequence analysis of the left and right species-specific terminal region of a cowpox virus strain reveals unique sequences and a cluster of intact ORFs for immunomodulatory and host range proteins.

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Department of Molecular Biology of Genomes, State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology Vector Koitsovo, Novosibirsk Region, Russia.


Sequencing and computer analysis of the left (52,283 bp) and right (49,649 bp) variable DNA regions of the cowpox virus strain GRI-90 (CPV-GRI) has revealed 51 and 37 potential open reading frames (ORFs), respectively. Comparison of the structure-function organization of these DNA regions of CPV-GRI with those previously published for corresponding regions of genomes of vaccinia virus, strains Copenhagen (VAC-COP) and Western Reserve (VAC-WR); and variola major virus, strains India-1967 (VAR-IND), Bangladesh-1975 (VAR-BSH); and alastrim variola minor virus, strain Garcia-1966 (VAR-GAR), was performed. Within the left terminal region under study, an extended DNA sequence (14,171 bp), unique to CPV, has been found. Within the right region of the CPV-GRI genome two segments, which are unique to CPV DNA (1579 and 3585 bp) have been found. Numerous differences have been revealed in the genetic structure of CPV-GRI DNA regions, homologous to fragments of the genomes of the above-mentioned orthopoxvirus strains. A cluster of ORFs with structural similarity ot immunomodulatory and host range function of other poxviruses have also been detected. A comparison of the sequences of ORF B, crmA, crmB, crmC, IMP, and CHO hr genes of CPV Brighton strain (CPV-BRI) with the corresponding genes in strain GRI-90 have revealed an identity at the amino acid level ranging from 82 to 96% between the two strains. The findings are significant in light of the recent demonstration of CPV as an important poxvirus model system to probe the precise in vivo role(s) of the unique virally encoded immunomodulatory proteins. Also, the presence of a complete and intact repertoire of immunomodulatory proteins, ring canal proteins family, and host range genes indicates that CPV may have been the most ancient of all studied orthopoxviruses.

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