In recent years a wealth of data has become available about the caliciviruses that infect humans, as well as those which infect a range of animal species, notably cats, rabbits, pigs and marine animals. However, in the two decades since the earliest reports of calicivirus infection in dogs, very little has become known about the epidemiology, pathogenicity and molecular biology of the caliciviruses that may infect canines. In 1990, a canine calicivirus (CaCV) was isolated from a 2-month-old diarrhoeic domestic dog in Japan. This virus, which can be grown in cultured cells of canine origin, has the classic 'Star of David' morphology of caliciviruses, and the one major structural protein was shown to be immunogenic in dogs. In this study, a 3.8 kb region of the genome of this CaCV isolate from the RNA polymerase gene to the 3' poly(A) tail was cloned and sequenced, and phylogenetic analysis was undertaken in order to establish the relationship of CaCV to other animal and human caliciviruses. This CaCV isolate had a nucleotide sequence, genomic organization and phylogenetic position closest to, but clearly distinct from, both feline calicivirus and San Miguel sea lion virus isolates. These findings suggest that CaCV represents a new clade of animal caliciviruses, presumably as a member of the recently proposed new genus Vesivirus.


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