The fusion glycoprotein (F(B)) gene of five strains of the B subtype of avian pneumovirus (APV; turkey rhinotracheitis virus) has been sequenced. The length of the F(B) protein was 538 amino acids, identical to that of the F protein of subtype A virus, with which it had 74% and 83% overall nucleotide and deduced amino acid identities, respectively. The F(B) and F(A) ectodomains had 90% amino acid identity, very similar to the 91% identity between the ectodomains of the F proteins of subtype A and B human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV). As with HRSV, the F2 polypeptide was less conserved (83% identity) than F1 (94%). In contrast to the ectodomain, the transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains of the two APV subtypes were much less conserved (30% and 48% identity, respectively) than those of HRSV (92% and 87%, respectively). Comparisons within all the genera of the Paramyxoviridae (Pneumovirus, Morbillivirus, Paramyxovirus and Rubullavirus) show that low amino acid identity between F protein transmembrane domains is a feature of different species of virus rather than of strain differences. This may indicate that the two subtypes of APV have evolved in different geographical regions and/or different avian species. This is the first report of an F gene sequence from a subtype B APV.


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