1887

Abstract

The full-length genome sequence of a porcine picobirnavirus (PBV) detected in Italy in 2004 was determined. The smaller (S) genome segment was 1730 nt, coding for a putative RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. Two distinct subpopulations of larger (L) genome segment (LA and LB) were identified in the sample, with the sizes ranging from 2351 to 2666 nt. The ORF1, coding for a protein of unknown function, contained a variable number of repetitions of the ExxRxNxxxE motif. The capsid protein-coding ORF2 spanned nt 810–2447 in the LB variants and started at nt 734 in the LA variants. However, a termination codon was present only in one of all the LA segment variants. Three-dimensional modelling of the porcine PBV capsids suggested structural differences in the protruding domain, tentatively involved as antigens in the humoral immune response. Altogether, these findings suggest the simultaneous presence of two different PBV strains sharing the same S segment but displaying genetically diverse L segments. In addition, the sample probably contained a mixture of PBVs with aberrant RNA replication products. Altered structure in the L segments could be tolerated and retained in the presence of functionally integer-cognate genes and represents a mechanism of virus diversification.

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2014-10-01
2019-11-18
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