The genome of fowlpox virus

C. L. Afonso, E. R. Tulman, Z. Lu, L. Zsak, G. F. Kutish, D. L. Rock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Here we present the genomic sequence, with analysis, of a pathogenic fowlpox virus (FPV). The 288-kbp FPV genome consists of a central coding region bounded by identical 9.5-kbp inverted terminal repeats and contains 260 open reading frames, of which 101 exhibit similarity to genes of known function. Comparison of the FPV genome with those of other chordopoxviruses (ChPVs) revealed 65 conserved gene homologues, encoding proteins involved in transcription and mRNA biogenesis, nucleotide metabolism, DNA replication and repair, protein processing, and virion structure. Comparison of the FPV genome with those of other ChPVs revealed extensive genome colinearity which is interrupted in FPV by a translocation and a major inversion, the presence of multiple and in some cases large gene families, and novel cellular homologues. Large numbers of cellular homologues together with 10 multigene families largely account for the marked size difference between the FPV genome (260 to 309 kbp) and other known ChPV genomes (178 to 191 kbp). Predicted proteins with putative functions involving immune evasion included eight natural killer cell receptors, four CC chemokines, three G-protein- coupled receptors, two β nerve growth factors, transforming growth factor β, interleukin-18-binding protein, semaphorin, and five serine proteinase inhibitors (serpins). Other potential FPV host range proteins included homologues of those involved in apoptosis (e.g., Bcl-2 protein), cell growth (e.g., epidermal growth factor domain protein), tissue tropism (e.g., ankyrin repeat-containing gene family, N1R/p28 gene family, and a T10 homologue), and avian host range (e.g., a protein present in both fowl adenovirus and Marek's disease virus). The presence of homologues of genes encoding proteins involved in steroid biogenesis (e.g., hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase), antioxidant functions (e.g., glutathione peroxidase), vesicle trafficking (e.g., two α-type soluble NSF attachment proteins), and other, unknown conserved cellular processes (e.g., Hal3 domain protein and GSN1/SUR4) suggests that significant modification of host cell function occurs upon viral infection. The presence of a cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer photolyase homologue in FPV suggests the presence of a photoreactivation DNA repair pathway. This diverse complement of genes with likely host range functions in FPV suggests significant viral adaptation to the avian host.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3815-3831
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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