The DNA sequence of a 2·4 kbp fragment located in the internal and terminal inverted repeat sequences of the pseudorabies virus genome determined in this study closes a gap between the previously described genes for the ICP4 and ICP22 homologues. The novel sequence contains no conserved herpesvirus open reading frames. Northern blot and cDNA analyses revealed a viral immediate-early transcript of 1·8 kb, which is spliced by the removal of two small introns close to its 5′ end and which presumably represents the mRNA of the downstream open reading frame encoding the ICP22 homologue. Upstream of the transcribed region, an imperfect set of three directly repeated sequences was identified. Each of them contains a complementary pair of the alphaherpesvirus origin-binding protein recognition motif GTTCGCAC, spaced by AT-rich sequences. studies confirmed that the DNA fragment analysed includes a functional origin of viral DNA replication.


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