Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infects humans and cattle causing serious respiratory tract disease in both. The genome of the human and bovine RSV (HRSV and BRSV) codes for two non-structural and eight structural proteins. RSV has also been isolated from naturally infected sheep, but the genome of the ovine RSV (ORSV) has not been characterized and nor has the virus host range been identified. Here we report on the cloning and sequencing of the two non-structural 1C and 1B genes and of the small hydrophobic (SH) protein gene of the ORSV. The nucleotide identity of the ORSV 1C gene to those of subgroups A and B of HRSV was 70% and 65% respectively whereas the predicted amino acid identity was 68% and 69% respectively. The ORSV 1B gene had a 70% and 72% nucleotide identity with that of subgroups A and B of the HRSV respectively, and 79% predicted amino acid identity with both HRSV subgroups. The identity level of these two ORSV 1C and 1B genes to those of the BRSV could not be determined since these two BRSV genes have not been sequenced. The SH protein of RSV is a structural protein expressed on the surface of infected cells. In common with HRSV and BRSV subgroups, the ORSV SH had the three proposed domains with the C-terminal domain least conserved among the viruses. In the latter domain, the ORSV SH gene had a nucleotide identity of 68 to 69% and 47 to 51% with those of the BRSV and HRSV, respectively, and a predicted amino acid identity of 56% and 33 to 47% with those of BRSV and HRSV, respectively. Defining the genes and their products should help determine which genes and gene products are most suitable for use as diagnostic tools or as vaccine candidates.


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