Virology, Nebraska Center for


Date of this Version

May 2006


Published in JOURNAL OF VIROLOGY, May 2006, p. 4978–4991 Vol. 80, No. 10. 0022-538X doi:10.1128/JVI.80.10.4978–4991.2006 Copyright © 2006, American Society for Microbiology. Used by permission.


Here, we present the genome sequence, with analysis, of a poxvirus infecting Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus) (crocodilepox virus; CRV). The genome is 190,054 bp (62% G+C) and predicted to contain 173 genes encoding proteins of 53 to 1,941 amino acids. The central genomic region contains genes conserved and generally colinear with those of other chordopoxviruses (ChPVs). CRV is distinct, as the terminal 33-kbp (left) and 13-kbp (right) genomic regions are largely CRV specific, containing 48 unique genes which lack similarity to other poxvirus genes. Notably, CRV also contains 14 unique genes which disrupt ChPV gene colinearity within the central genomic region, including 7 genes encoding GyrB-like ATPase domains similar to those in cellular type IIA DNA topoisomerases, suggestive of novel ATP-dependent functions. The presence of 10 CRV proteins with similarity to components of cellular multisubunit E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase complexes, including 9 proteins containing F-box motifs and F-box-associated regions and a homologue of cellular anaphasepromoting complex subunit 11 (Apc11), suggests that modification of host ubiquitination pathways may be significant for CRV-host cell interaction. CRV encodes a novel complement of proteins potentially involved in DNA replication, including a NAD+-dependent DNA ligase and a protein with similarity to both vaccinia virus F16L and prokaryotic serine site-specific resolvase-invertases. CRV lacks genes encoding proteins for nucleotide metabolism. CRV shares notable genomic similarities with molluscum contagiosum virus, including genes found only in these two viruses. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that CRV is quite distinct from other ChPVs, representing a new genus within the subfamily Chordopoxvirinae, and it lacks recognizable homologues of most ChPV genes involved in virulence and host range, including those involving interferon response, intracellular signaling, and host immune response modulation. These data reveal the unique nature of CRV and suggest mechanisms of virus-reptile host interaction.

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