Haemorrhagic enteritis virus (HEV) is a member of a genetically ill-defined group within the genus which causes significant clinical disease in gallinaceous fowl. Using DNA obtained from a low virulence isolate of HEV passed in turkeys, we developed a genomic restriction map and estimated an apparent genomic length of 25·5 kb. No evidence for extensive DNA hybridization was found between the HEV genome and either the hexon or penton base genes of human adenovirus 2 (HAdV-2) and fowl adenovirus 10 (FAdV-10). The HEV penton base gene was identified by PCR using primers based on conserved adenoviral DNA sequences. The penton base gene was expressed in as a fusion protein and detected by anti-HEV serum in both colony and denaturing gel immunoblots. DNA sequencing revealed a putative penton base ORF with a predicted amino acid sequence showing approximately 39·0%, 53·0% and 44·2% similarity with the penton base of HAdV-2, human adenovirus 40 (HAdV-40) and FAdV-10, respectively. The penton base gene was located at 43·3–48·6 m.u. on the HEV genome and had a remarkably low G+C content (33·8%). DNA sequencing also revealed ORFs for putative core proteins resembling pVII, p-mu and a partial ORF similar to pVI (hexon-associated protein) of HAdV-2 and HAdV-40. The results support the claim that HEV represents a distinct group of viruses within the genus .


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