The cDNA sequence of the large dsRNA segment (segment A) of the N1 strain of infectious pancreatic necrosis virus (IPNV) has been determined. The nucleotide and deduced amino acid sequences were compared to the sequences of segment A of the Jasper strain of IPNV and to the sequences of segments A and B (5′ and 3′ flanking regions) of the 002-73 strain of infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV). The comparison demonstrated that the precursor protein of the major structural polypeptide, pVP2, is highly conserved at the N and C termini, whereas the amino acid sequence of an internal segment shows greater diversity between the strains. This internal segment probably carries the serotype-specific epitopes of birnaviruses. An alternative open reading frame (ORF) (444 bp) partly overlapping with the large ORF (2916 bp) of segment A was found to be conserved among the IPNV strains and is probably also present in the 002-73 strain of IBDV. This small ORF may encode a novel birnavirus polypeptide with an of 17K. SDS-PAGE of radiolabelled purified IPNV particles revealed a band corresponding to the possible novel 17K polypeptide. Short terminal inverted repeats are found in segment A of the N1 and Jasper strains of IPNV and in segment B of the 002-73 strain of IBDV. Segment A of IPNV and segment B of IBDV also contain adjacent inverted repeats at their 5′-terminal flanking regions.


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