Herpesvirus saimiri (HVS) is a T-lymphotropic tumor virus that causes fulminant lymphomas and leukemias in various New World primates other than its natural host, the squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciureus). In the course of completing the nucleotide sequence of its genome, we identified an open reading frame of 363 nucleotides, designated HVS-15, that has no detectable homology to any other viral sequences to date. HVS-15 encodes a 121-amino-acid protein which shows significant similarities to human CD59, a phosphatidyl-inositol-glycan-anchored glycoprotein involved in T-cell activation and restriction of complement-mediated lysis. The predicted HVS-15 gene product is more similar to human CD59 than to the related murine Ly-6 antigens. A nucleotide sequence identity of 64% was found between HVS-15 and the CD59 reading frame, and a 48% identity exists between the corresponding protein sequences. The comparison of the amino acid sequences revealed a number of conserved structural features such as a similar pattern of hydrophobic termini and an identical cysteine skeleton.
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