The nucleotide sequence of 42090 bp of vaccinia virus strain WR is presented. The sequence includes the I L, F, G and I fragments and starts near the centre of the dIII A fragment and extends rightwards towards the genomic terminus, finishing approximately 0·5 kb internal of the inverted terminal repeat (ITR). Translation of this region has identified 65 open reading frames (ORFs) of greater than 65 amino acids in length. Fifty-one of these which do not extensively overlap other larger ORFs have been subjected to further analysis; the other 14 are termed minor ORFs. In the rightmost 28·7 kb, the genes are, with one exception, transcribed towards the genomic terminus, similar to the arrangement of genes at the left end of the virus genome. Internal of this region the genes are expressed off either DNA strand but still predominately rightwards. ORFs are tightly packed with few intergenic non-coding regions of greater than 250 bp. Protein sequence comparisons have established a remarkably high number of homologies with entries in existing protein databases. Of these, DNA ligase, thymidylate kinase, two serine-threonine protein kinases, two serine proteinase inhibitors (serpins), two interleukin-1 receptor homologues and a discontinuous ORF related to tumour necrosis factor receptor have been reported. Other homologies include lectins, profilin, 3β-hydroxy steroid dehydrogenase, superoxide dismutase, guanylate kinase, ankyrin and complement factor H. In addition, there are a number of polypeptides with predicted properties of membrane-associated, secretory or glyco-proteins. Twelve gene families are described here and elsewhere. There is considerable similarity between genes from the right and left end of the virus genome that may have arisen by terminal transposition events. Several differences from the corresponding region of vaccinia virus strain Copenhagen sequence are noted. Near the right terminus the sequences diverge completely, and internal of this there are multiple examples of deletion of short sequences (eight to 10 nucleotides) that lie within penta- or hexanucleotide direct repeats.


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