The DNA sequence and transcription pattern of the p10 gene from the spruce budworm baculovirus multicapsid nuclear polyhedrosis virus (CfMNPV) were analysed. The CfMNPV p10 gene codes for a protein 81 amino acids in length: this is the shortest p10 peptide identified thus far. A novel characteristic of the CfMNPV p10 gene is that it contains tandem late initiation sites (TAAG) having different temporal transcription patterns. Comparative analysis of CfMNPV p10 and the amino acid sequences of other p10 gene products showed that they each appear to have a similar N-terminal structure: an amphipathic alpha-helical terminus which condenses as coiled-coil multimers. Another feature of the p10 N terminus is that the central region of the coiled-coil domain resembles a bend or hairpin loop and could fold into a hairpin or form a bent rod structure. The condensation of p10 monomers to coiled-coil multimers is likely to be a step leading to the formation of p10 fibrous bodies in infected cells.


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