DNA of Yaba virus, a member of the poxviruses, was mapped by cross-hybridization between fragments of various restriction enzymes. The genome was approximately 135 kb in length and possessed two characteristic features of poxviruses: cross-links and inverted terminal repeats at both termini. Hybridization of fragments of Yaba virus DNA to known vaccinia virus DNA fragments indicated that the thymidine kinase (TK) gene mapped within the 0.9 kb I-cII fragment between 52.5 and 53.5 kb from the left end of the genome. The fragment could rescue the TK phenotype in TK cells preinfected with a TK vaccinia virus mutant. Nucleotide sequencing of the fragment revealed an ORF capable of encoding 181 amino acids. The sequence TAAAAATGAAAAATTA upstream of the ORF was considered to be the promoter and the downstream sequence TTTTTAT to be the early transcription termination signal. These sequences are in good accord with the consensus regulatory sequences for the expression of early genes of other known poxviruses. The amino acid sequence similarity among the poxvirus TK genes suggests that Yaba virus is most closely related to swinepox virus and less similar to fowlpox virus.


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