Camelpox virus (CMLV), a member of the Orthopoxvirus genus in the Poxviridae, is the etiologic agent of a disease of camels. Here we report the CMLV genomic sequence with analysis. The 205,719-bp CMLV genome contains 211 putative genes and consists of a central region bound by identical inverted terminal repeats of approximately 7 kb. A high degree of similarity in gene order, gene content, and amino acid composition in the region located between CMLV017 and CMLV184 (average 96% amino acid identity to vaccinia virus (VACV)) indicates a close structural and functional relationship between CMLV and other known orthopoxviruses (OPVs). Notably, CMLV contains a unique region of approximately 3 kb, which encodes three ORFs (CMLV185, CMLV186, CMLV187) absent in other OPVs. These ORFs are most similar to B22R homologues found in other chordopoxvirus genera. Among OPVs, CMLV is the most closely related to variola virus (VARV), sharing all genes involved in basic replicative functions and the majority of genes involved in other host-related functions. Differences between CMLV and VARV include deletion and disruption of a large number of genes. Twenty-seven CMLV ORFs are absent in VARV, including seven full-length homologues of NMDA-like receptor, phospholipase D, Schlafen, MT-4 virulence, kelch, VACV C8L, and cowpox (CPXV) B21R proteins. Thirty-eight CMLV ORFs, some of which are fragments of larger genes, differ in size from corresponding VARV ORFs by more than 10% (amino acids). Genome structure and phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequences for all ORFs indicate that CMLV is clearly distinct from VARV and VACV and, as it has been suggested for VARV, it may have originated from a CPXV virus-like ancestor.
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