Primary structure of the herpesvirus saimiri genome

J. C. Albrecht, J. Nicholas, D. Biller, K. R. Cameron, B. Biesinger, C. Newman, S. Wittmann, M. A. Craxton, H. Coleman, B. Fleckenstein, R. W. Honess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

391 Scopus citations


This report describes the complete nucleotide sequence of the genome of herpesvirus saimiri, the prototype of gammaherpesvirus subgroup 2 (rhadinoviruses). The unique low-G+C-content DNA region has 112,930 bp with an average base composition of 34.5% G+C and is flanked by about 35 noncoding high-G+C-content DNA repeats of 1,444 bp (70.8% G+C) in tandem orientation. We identified 76 major open reading frames and a set of seven U-RNA genes for a total of 83 potential genes. The genes are closely arranged, with only a few regions of sizable noncoding sequences. For 60 of the predicted proteins, homologous sequences are found in other herpesviruses. Genes conserved between herpesvirus saimiri and Epstein-Barr virus (gammaherpesvirus subgroup 1) show that their genomes are generally collinear, although conserved gene blocks are separated by unique genes that appear to determine the particular phenotype of these viruses. Several deduced protein sequences of herpesvirus saimiri without counterparts in most of the other sequenced herpesviruses exhibited significant homology with cellular proteins of known function. These include thymidylate synthase, dihydrofolate reductase, complement control proteins, the cell surface antigen CD59, cyclins, and G protein- coupled receptors. Searching for functional protein motifs revealed that the virus may encode a cytosine-specific methylase and a tyrosine-specific protein kinase. Several herpesvirus saimiri genes are potential candidates to cooperate with the gene for saimiri transformation-associated protein of subgroup A (STP-A) in T-lymphocyte growth stimulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5047-5058
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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