1887

Abstract

Sequence analysis of the ∼20 kb 5′-terminal portion of the ssRNA genome of gill-associated virus (GAV) of prawns has previously established that it contains an ORF1a–1b replicase gene equivalent to those of the coronavirus and arterivirus members of the order . Sequence analysis of the remaining ∼6·2 kb of the GAV genome downstream of ORF1a–1b to a 3′-poly(A) tail has identified two highly conserved intergenic sequences in which 29/32 nucleotides are conserved. Northern hybridization using probes to the four putative GAV ORFs and either total or poly(A)-selected RNA identified two 3′-coterminal subgenomic (sg) mRNAs of ∼6 kb and ∼5·5 kb. Primer extension and 5′-RACE analyses showed that the sgmRNAs initiate at the same 5′-AC positions in the central region of the two conserved intergenic sequences. Neither method provided any evidence that the GAV sgmRNAs are fused to genomic 5′-leader RNA sequences as is the case with vertebrate coronaviruses and arteriviruses. Intracellular double-stranded (ds)RNAs equivalent in size to the 26·2 kb genomic RNA and two sgRNAs were also identified by RNase/DNase digestion of total RNA from GAV-infected prawn tissue. The identification of only two sgmRNAs that initiate at the same position in conserved intergenic sequences and the absence of 5′-genomic leader sequences fused to these sgmRNAs confirms that GAV has few genes and suggests that it utilizes a transcription mechanism possibly similar to the vertebrate toroviruses but distinct from coronaviruses and arteriviruses.

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2002-04-01
2019-10-16
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