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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Nucleotide sequence and protein analysis of a complex piscine retrovirus, walleye dermal sarcoma virus.

Walleye dermal sarcoma virus (WDSV) is a fish retrovirus associated with the development of tumors in walleyes. We have determined the complete nucleotide sequence of a DNA clone of WDSV, the N-terminal amino acid sequences of the major proteins, and the start site for transcription. The long terminal repeat is 590 bp in length, with the U3 region containing consensus sequences likely to be involved in viral gene expression. A predicted histidyl-tRNA binding site is located 3 nucleotides distal to the 3' end of the long terminal repeat. Virus particles purified by isopycnic sedimentation followed by rate zonal sedimentation showed major polypeptides with molecular sizes of 90, 25, 20, 14, and 10 kDa. N-terminal sequencing of these allowed unambiguous assignment of the small polypeptides as products of the gag gene, including CA and NC, and the large polypeptide as the TM product of env. The 582-amino-acid (aa) Gag protein precursor is predicted to be myristylated as is found for most retroviruses. NC contains a single Cys-His motif like those found in all retroviruses except spumaviruses. The WDSV pro and pol genes are in the same translational reading frame as gag and thus apparently are translated after termination suppression. The env gene encodes a surface (SU) protein of 469 aa predicted to be highly glycosylated and a large transmembrane (TM) protein of 754 aa. The sequence of TM is unusual in that it ends in a very hydrophobic segment of 65 residues containing a single charged residue. Following the env gene are two nonoverlapping long open reading frames of 290 aa (orf-A) and 306 aa (orf-B), neither of which shows significant sequence similarity with known genes. A third open reading frame of 119 aa (orf-C) is located in the leader region preceding gag. The predicted amino acid sequence of reverse transcriptase would place WDSV phylogenetically closest to the murine leukemia virus-related genus of retroviruses. However, other members of this genus do not have accessory genes, suggesting that WDSV acquired orf-A, orf-B, and perhaps orf-C late in its evolution. We hypothesize by analogy with other complex retroviruses that the accessory genes of WDSV function in the regulation of transcription and in RNA processing and also in the induction of walleye dermal sarcoma.[1]


  1. Nucleotide sequence and protein analysis of a complex piscine retrovirus, walleye dermal sarcoma virus. Holzschu, D.L., Martineau, D., Fodor, S.K., Vogt, V.M., Bowser, P.R., Casey, J.W. J. Virol. (1995) [Pubmed]
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