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Nucleic acids from an unidentified virus from ringed seals (Phoca hispida) were amplified using sequence-independent PCR, subcloned, and then sequenced. The full genome of a novel RNA virus was derived, identifying the first sequence-confirmed picornavirus in a marine mammal. The phylogenetic position of the tentatively named seal picornavirus 1 (SePV-1) as an outlier to the grouping of parechoviruses was found consistently in alignable regions of the genome. A mean protein sequence identity of only 19.3 to 30.0% was found between the 3D polymerase gene sequence of SePV-1 and those of other picornaviruses. The predicted secondary structure of the short 506-base 5'-untranslated region showed some attributes of a type IVB internal ribosome entry site, and the polyprotein lacked an apparent L peptide, both properties associated with the Parechovirus genus. The presence of two SePV-1 2A genes and of the canonical sequence required for cotranslational cleavage resembled the genetic organization of Ljungan virus. Minor genetic variants were detected in culture supernatants derived from 8 of 108 (7.4%) seals collected in 2000 to 2002, indicating a high prevalence of SePV-1 in this hunted seal population. The high level of genetic divergence of SePV-1 compared to other picornaviruses and its mix of characteristics relative to its closest relatives support the provisional classification of SePV-1 as the prototype for a new genus in the family Picornaviridae.

Original publication

DOI

10.1128/JVI.01240-07

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Virol

Publication Date

01/2008

Volume

82

Pages

311 - 320

Keywords

5' Untranslated Regions, Animals, Genome, Viral, Molecular Sequence Data, Nucleic Acid Conformation, Parechovirus, Phoca, Phylogeny, Picornaviridae, Picornaviridae Infections, Sequence Analysis, DNA, Sequence Homology, Amino Acid, Viral Proteins