In this paper we present the nucleotide sequences of the thymidine kinase (TK) genes of two avian herpesviruses: a highly oncogenic strain of Marek's disease virus (MDV strain RB1B) and its serologically related vaccine virus, the herpesvirus of turkeys (HVT strain Fc-126). The predicted coding regions of the two genes are 1029 and 1050 nucleotides respectively, corresponding to polypeptides of 343 and 350 amino acids in length. Putative nucleotide- and nucleoside-binding sites have been identified within the two predicted amino acid sequences. The MDV and HVT TK amino acid sequences exhibit 58.2% amino acid identity. Comparison with other available herpesvirus TK sequences reveals a greater homology to those of the alphaherpes-viruses than to those of the gammaherpesviruses. No overall homology was found when compared with the chicken cytoplasmic TK sequence.

Keyword(s): HVT , MDV , nucleotide sequence and TK

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