Picornaviruses have been divided into five genera until recently, when a sixth genus, Parechovirus, was defined. Human parechovirus type 1 (HPeV1; formerly echovirus 22) was the first recognized member of this genus and preliminary sequence analysis of echovirus 23 [now renamed human parechovirus type 2 (HPeV2)] suggested that it is also a parechovirus. Here we describe the complete nucleotide and predicted amino acid sequences of HPeV2, which indicate a close relationship to HPeV1 throughout the genome. Sequence covariance in the 5' untranslated region allows a prediction of the secondary structure, which indicates that these parechoviruses have a type 2 internal ribosome entry site, most closely related to that of cardioviruses. Overall, HPeV2 has 87.9% amino acid identity with HPeV1, most divergence being seen in regions of the capsid proteins that probably define antigenic sites. The N-terminal sequence extension to VP3, seen only in parechoviruses, is highly basic in both viruses, but has a variable sequence, suggesting that it does not have a sequence-specific role. There is an RGD motif near the C terminus of VP1, in an analogous location to that in HPeV1 which is believed to be functionally significant. The results confirm that both viruses are parechoviruses and give insights into the molecular features of this genus.


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