The nucleotide sequence of the mRNA encoding the nucleocapsid (N) protein of bovine respiratory syncytial (BRS) virus, strain 391-2, was determined. Recombinant vectors containing a cDNA of the complete N gene were constructed, and expression of the N protein in eukaryotic cells was demonstrated using two different vector systems. The BRS virus N mRNA was 1197 nucleotides in length, exclusive of poly(A), and had a single major open reading frame that encoded a polypeptide of 391 amino acids with a calculated of 42.6K. The nucleotide and amino acid sequences of the BRS virus N gene were compared to those of human respiratory syncytial (HRS) virus strains A2 and 18537, and to BRS virus strain A51908. The level of nucleic acid identity between the N mRNA of BRS virus 391-2 and both HRS virus subtypes was 80 to 81%, whereas the identity between the two BRS virus strains was 97%. A 93 to 94% level of identity was observed between the deduced amino acid sequences of the N protein of BRS virus 391-2 and the corresponding sequences of the two HRS virus strains. The two BRS virus N proteins differed in amino acid sequence at only three positions. Recombinant BRS virus N protein was expressed using two different vector systems: in cells from a plasmid using the vaccinia virus/T7 polymerase expression system or from a recombinant vaccinia virus. N proteins synthesized by the two vector systems migrated with an electrophoretic mobility identical to that of authentic BRS virus N protein, and were precipitated by anti-BRS virus antibodies.


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