Sagiyama virus (SAG) is a member of the genus in the family , isolated in Japan from mosquitoes in 1956. We determined the complete nucleotide sequence of the SAG genomic RNA from the original stock virus which formed a mixture of plaques with different sizes, and that from a full-length cDNA clone, pSAG2, infectious RNA transcripts from which formed uniform large plaques on BHK-21 cells. The SAG genome was 11698 nt in length exclusive of the 3′ poly(A) tail. Between the complete nucleotide sequences of the full-length cDNA clone, pSAG2, and the consensus sequence from the original stock virus, there were nine amino acid differences; two each in nsP1, nsP2 and E1, and three in E2, some of which may be responsible for plaque phenotypic variants in the original virus stock. SAG was most closely related to Ross River virus among other alphaviruses fully sequenced, with amino acid sequence identities of 86% in the nonstructural proteins and of 83% in the structural proteins. The 3′ terminal 280 nt region of SAG was 82% identical to that of Barmah Forest virus, which was otherwise not closely related to SAG. Comparison of the nucleotide sequence of SAG with partial nucleotide sequences of Getah virus (GET), which was originally isolated in Malaysia in 1955 and is closely related to SAG in serology and in biology, showed near identity between the two viruses, suggesting that SAG is a strain of GET.


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