The nucleotide sequences of the large open reading frame (ORF) from segment A of three European strains of infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) have been determined using cDNA clones. This ORF of 3036 nucleotides encodes the virion proteins as a polyprotein in the following order: VP2, VP4, VP3. The nucleotide sequences determined have been compared to each other and to the published sequence of an Australian strain. The four strains are closely related, the greatest difference between two strains being 7.7% at the nucleotide level and 2.7% at the amino acid level. Comparisons show that there is a tight cluster of amino acid changes in the virion protein VP2. This variable region corresponded to the region where binding of a neutralizing monoclonal antibody has previously been mapped. A region in the centre of the segment, corresponding to the N terminal of VP4, was found to be completely conserved. Amino acid changes were spread fairly evenly through VP3 and there was no indication of a variable region as found in VP2.


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