The fish rhabdovirus infectious haematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) contains a non-virion (NV) gene between the glycoprotein (G) and polymerase (L) genes on its RNA genome. The present study investigated three other fish rhabdovirus genomes and found that the NV gene of hirame rhabdovirus is closely related to the NV of IHNV, whereas the viral haemorrhagic septicemia NV gene showed evidence of significant divergence. Most importantly, spring viraemia of carp virus, the only vesiculovirus-like fish rhabdovirus examined, did not have an NV gene at its genomic RNA G-L junction. These results suggest that the presence of an NV gene is characteristic of the unassigned fish rhabdovirus subgroup previously classified as lyssaviruses, and that the NV gene is not essential for replication in fish cells per se, since it is absent in a vesiculovirus-like fish rhabdovirus.


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