Comparative analysis of the full genome sequence of European bat lyssavirus type 1 and type 2 with other lyssaviruses and evidence for a conserved transcription termination and polyadenylation motif

Marston, D.A.; McElhinnery, L.; Johnson, N.; Müller, Thomas GND; Conzelmann, Karl Klaus GND; Tordo, N.; Fooks, A.R.

We report the first full-length genomic sequences for European bat lyssavirus type-1 (EBLV-1) and type-2 (EBLV-2). The EBLV-1 genomic sequence was derived from a virus isolated from a serotine bat in Hamburg, Germany, in 1968 and the EBLV-2 sequence was derived from a virus isolate from a human case of rabies that occurred in Scotland in 2002. A long-distance PCR strategy was used to amplify the open reading frames (ORFs), followed by standard and modified RACE (rapid amplification of cDNA ends) techniques to amplify the 3' and 5' ends. The lengths of each complete viral genome for EBLV-1 and EBLV-2 were 11 966 and 11 930 base pairs, respectively, and follow the standard rhabdovirus genome organization of five viral proteins. Comparison with other lyssavirus sequences demonstrates variation in degrees of homology, with the genomic termini showing a high degree of complementarity. The nucleoprotein was the most conserved, both intra- and intergenotypically, followed by the polymerase Q, matrix and glyco-proteins, with the phosphoprotein being the most variable. In addition, we have shown that the two EBLVs utilize a conserved transcription termination and polyadenylation (TTP) motif, approximately 50 nt upstream of the L gene start codon. All available lyssavirus sequences to date, with the exception of Pasteur virus (PV) and PV-derived isolates, use the second TTP site. This observation may explain differences in pathogenicity between lyssavirus strains, dependent on the length of the untranslated region, which might affect transcriptional activity and RNA stability

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Marston, D.A. / McElhinnery, L. / Johnson, N. / et al: Comparative analysis of the full genome sequence of European bat lyssavirus type 1 and type 2 with other lyssaviruses and evidence for a conserved transcription termination and polyadenylation motif. 2007.

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