Extensive sequence variation exists among isolates of murine cytomegalovirus within members of the m02 family of genes

A.J. Corbett, Catherine Forbes, D. Moro, Tony Scalzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) is a widely used model for human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) and has facilitated many important discoveries about the biology of CMVs. Most of these studies are conducted using the laboratory MCMV strains Smith and K181. However, wild-derived isolates of MCMV, like HCMV clinical isolates, exhibit genetic variation from laboratory strains, particularly at the ends of their genomes in areas containing known or putative immune-evasion and tropism genes. This study analysed the nucleotide sequence of the m02-m05 region, within the m02 gene family, of a number of laboratory and wild-derived MCMV isolates, and found a large degree of variation in both the sequence and arrangement of genes. A new open reading frame (ORF), designated m03.5, was found to be present in a number of wild isolates of MCMV in place of m03. Two distinct isolates, W8 and W8211, were found to possess both m03 and m03.5. Both m03 and m03.5 had early transcription kinetics and the encoded proteins could be detected on the cell surface, consistent with a possible role in immune evasion through binding to host-cell proteins. These data show that gene duplication and sequence variation occur within different isolates of MCMV found in the wild. As this variation among strains may alter the function of genes, these findings should be considered when analysing gene function or host-virus interactions in laboratory models.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)758-769
JournalJournal of General Virology
Volume88
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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