The first 3000 nucleotides from the 3′ end of the Marburg virus (MBG) genome were determined from cDNA clones produced from genomic RNA and mRNA. Identified in the sequence was a short putative leader sequence at the extreme 3′ end, followed by the complete nucleoprotein (NP) gene. The 5′ end of the NP mRNA was determined as was the polyadenylation site for the NP gene. The transcriptional start (3′ UUCUUCUUAUAAUU..) and termination (3′ ..UAAUUCUUUUU) signals of the MBG NP gene are very similar to those seen with Ebola virus (EBO). In comparison to other non-segmented negative-strand RNA viruses, filovirus transcriptional signals are most similar to members of the Paramyxovirus and Morbillivirus genera. translation of a run-off transcript containing the entire MBG NP coding region produced an authentic NP. Sequence comparisons of the 3′ end of the MBG and EBO genomes revealed weak nucleotide sequence similarity, but the predicted sequence of the first 400 amino acids of these viruses showed a high degree. This homology is encoded in divergent nucleotide sequences through different codon usages and substitutions of similar amino acids. A small region in the middle of the MBG and EBO NP sequences was found to contain a significant amino acid homology with NPs of paramyxoviruses and to a lesser extent with rhabdoviruses. Specific sites of conserved sequence are contained in hydrophobic domains and may have a common function. Alignments of the entire NP amino acid sequences of these viruses also suggest that filoviruses are more closely related to paramyxoviruses than to rhabdoviruses.


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