1887

Abstract

Tamana bat virus (TABV, isolated from the bat ) is currently classified as a tentative species in the genus . We report here the determination and analysis of its complete coding sequence. Low but significant similarity scores between TABV and member-viruses of the genus were identified in the amino acid sequences of the structural, NS3 and NS5 genes. A series of cysteines located in the envelope protein and the most important enzymatic domains of the virus helicase/NTPase, methyltransferase and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase were found to be highly conserved. In the serine-protease domain, the catalytic sites were conserved, but variations in sequence were found in the putative substrate-binding sites, implying possible differences in the protease specificity. In accordance with this finding, the putative cleavage sites of the TABV polyprotein by the virus protease are substantially different from those of flaviviruses. The phylogenetic position of TABV could not be determined precisely, probably due to the extremely significant genetic divergence from other member-viruses of the family . However, analysis based on both genetic distances and maximum-likelihood confirmed that TABV is more closely related to the flaviviruses than to the other genera. These findings have implications for the evolutionary history and taxonomic classification of the family as a whole: (i) the possibility that flaviviruses were derived from viruses infecting mammals rather than from mosquito viruses cannot be excluded; (ii) using the current criteria for the definition of genera in the family , TABV should be assigned to a new genus.

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2002-10-01
2019-10-23
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