The complete nucleotide sequence of a cloned copy of the dIII K fragment of the WR strain of vaccinia virus has been determined. Eight open reading frames (ORFs) have been identified, on the basis of size and codon usage. The predicted amino acid sequences of the putative genes have been compared to the Protein Identification Resource and to published vaccinia virus sequences. One gene, predicted to encode a 42.2K protein, is highly related to the family of serine protease inhibitors. It shows approximately 25% identity to human antithrombin III and 19% identity to the cowpox virus 38K protein gene which is also related to serine protease inhibitors. The product of another gene shows a similar high level of identity to the 37K vaccinia virus major envelope antigen. The existence of viable deletion mutants and recombinants containing foreign DNA inserted into both these genes indicates that they are non-essential.


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