The mRNA transcribed from the N gene of viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus (VHSV) of salmonids has been cloned in and expressed. Fusion proteins were recognized by monoclonal antibody directed against the N protein from the viral particle. A 1212 bp long open reading frame (ORF) coding for 404 amino acids with a calculated of 44590 was deduced from the nucleotide sequence. The ORF was preceded by a 93 bp segment including in position 42 the AACAC pentanucleotide which is presumed to be the start signal for transcription by analogy with other rhabdoviral mRNAs. The upstream 41 bp region could correspond to the covalently linked positive polarity leader RNA as also found on the N mRNA from infectious haematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV). This may be a characteristic of fish lyssaviruses. The AAACC sequence, which is part of the leader, was not found. Amino acids 44 to 359 from IHNV and 45 to 360 from VHSV are 45.3% homologous. A strong homology which could reflect functional importance was also found for potential phosphorylation sites and hydrophobic peaks despite the fact that the two viruses evolved on different continents.


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