The light brown apple moth, Epiphyas postvittana, is a major insect pest of a variety of fruit crops grown in New Zealand and we are studying a nucleopolyhedrovirus, EppoNPV, isolated from this insect. Restriction endonuclease analysis of EppoNPV DNA shows that this is a single strain of virus with a genome size of approximately 119 kbp and a complete library of the EppoNPV genome has been cloned. A strategy of single-stranded sequencing of the termini of REN fragment clones was employed to map the virus genome. Sequence homologies to NPV gene sequences present in the GenBank database allowed a nearly complete restriction map of the EppoNPV genome to be constructed. The mapping was completed with Southern blotting and restriction analysis. Fifty-five open reading frames (ORFs) with similarity to genes from other NPVs have been identified and placement of these on the restriction map shows that EppoNPV has a nearly identical genome organization to Orgyia pseudotsugata (Op)MNPV. The polyhedrin gene of EppoNPV has been fully sequenced and an ORF of 738 bp encodes a predicted protein of 28.8 kDa. The conserved 12 bp consensus sequence typical of very late baculovirus gene promoters, AATAAGTAATTT, has been located upstream of the ATG initiation codon. An ORF located downstream of the polyhedrin gene shows homology to the 1629-capsid protein from OpMNPV. Phylogenetic comparison to polyhedrin gene sequences from 23 other NPVs shows EppoNPV to be a group I NPV closely related to OpMNPV.


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