Recently, gene fragments of several novel variants of GB virus A were isolated from the serum of distinct monkey species that had not been experimentally inoculated with an infectious agent. These variants appeared to be species-specific in that sequences isolated within a species were virtually identical, though sequences were strikingly different when compared between each species. In the present study, the nucleotide sequence of one of these variants, GBV-Alab, was extended to near-genome length. Similar to the other GB viruses, GBV-Alab appears to encode a single large polyprotein of 2967 amino acids that is post-translationally cleaved by cellular and viral proteases into the individual viral proteins. The structural proteins are found at the N-terminal end of the polyprotein, while the nonstructural proteins are found at the C teminus. Amino acid sequence comparisons of the large polyprotein demonstrate that GBV-Alab is 74% identical to GBV-A and 48% identical to GBV-C, sharing only marginal identity with GBV-B and HCV-1 at 27%. Examination of the GBV-Alab polyprotein reveals that structural motifs are conserved for a protease, a helicase and a replicase. Phylogenetic analysis of the polyprotein confirms previous results that GBV-Alab is a member of the Flaviviridae, distinct from GBV-B and HCV, though more closely related to GBV-A and GBV-C.


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