The major inverted repeat of 7319.5 base pairs is present at an internal site in the varicella-zoster virus genome and at one terminus. A DNA sequence of 7747 base pairs containing the repeat was determined and analysed. The G + C content of the repeat is not uniform, and is significantly higher than that of adjacent unique regions. The repeat contains a G + C-rich reiterated sequence, an A + T-rich sequence with the potential of forming a hairpin structure which may form part of an origin of DNA replication, and three open reading frames predicted to encode primary translation products with approximate molecular weights of 140 000, 30 000 and 20 000. The possibility is discussed that the expression of other open reading frames near the genome termini may depend upon genome conformation.


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