Complete genome sequence of a raccoon rabies virus isolate Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The entire genome of a mid-Atlantic raccoon strain rabies virus (RRV) isolated in Canada was sequenced; this is the second North American wildlife rabies virus isolate to be fully characterized. The overall organization and length of the genome was similar to that of other lyssaviruses. The nucleotide sequence identity of the raccoon strain ranged between 32.7% and 85.0% when compared to other lyssaviruses, while the deduced amino acid sequence identity ranged between 22.9% and 94.2% with the nucleoprotein and polymerase being the most conserved. Notable features of RRV include the phosphoprotein's four amino acid extension compared to most other rabies viruses, and a nucleotide substitution immediately prior to the normal start codon that results in an additional methionine at the beginning of the L protein. This is the first report of the RRV L gene sequence and its 2128 amino acid product. Rates of non-synonymous and synonymous nucleotide changes within the lyssavirus L gene identified the conserved blocks II, III and IV as being most constrained. Analysis of L gene codon substitution patterns favoured models that supported positive selection, but only one site, corresponding to Leu62 of the RRV L protein, was identified as being under weak positive selection.

publication date

  • September 2008

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