Sequence analysis of the phosphoprotein gene of peste des petits ruminants (PPR) virus: editing of the gene transcript

The gene encoding the phosphoprotein of the vaccine strain of Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) virus (Nigeria 75/1 vaccine strain) has been cloned and its nucleotide sequence been determined. This gene is 1655 nucleotides long and encodes two overlapping open reading frames (ORFs). Translation from the first AUG would produce a polypeptide of 509 amino acid residues with a predicted molecular mass of 54.9 kDa, the longest of the published morbillivirus P proteins. Translation from the second AUG would produce a protein of 177 amino acid residues with a predicted molecular mass of 20.3 kDa, analogous to the C proteins of other morbilliviruses. Evidence was found for the production of two types of P mRNA transcript, one a faithful transcript of the gene and the other with an extra G residue inserted at position 751. Translation from the first AUG of this second mRNA would produce a protein of 298 amino acids, with a predicted molecular mass 32.3 kDa, analogous to the V protein produced by other morbilliviruses. Sequences of the predicted P, C and V proteins were compared with those of the other morbillivirus sequences available to date. The P protein was found to be the most poorly conserved of the morbillivirus proteins, the amino acid identity ranging from 54% in case of Canine distemper virus (CDV) to 60% in the case of the Dolphin morbillivirus (DMV).

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