DAO 31:9-17 (1997)  -  doi:10.3354/dao031009

Sequence analysis and expression of the M1 and M2 matrix protein genes of hirame rhabdovirus (HIRRV)*

T. Nishizawa1, G. Kurath2, J. R. Winton2,**

1Faculty of Applied Biological Science, Hiroshima University, Higashi-Hiroshima, 724 Japan
2Northwest Biological Science Center, 6505 NE 65th Street, Seattle, Washington 98115, USA
*Sequence data in this article have been deposited with the DNA data bank of Japan (DDBJ) under Accession No. D45422
**Addressee for correspondence. E-mail:

We have cloned and sequenced a 2318 nucleotide region of the genomic RNA of hirame rhabdovirus (HIRRV), an important viral pathogen of Japanese flounder Paralichthys olivaceus. This region comprises approximately two-thirds of the 3' end of the nucleocapsid protein (N) gene and the complete matrix protein (M1 and M2) genes with the associated intergenic regions. The partial N gene sequence was 812 nucleotides in length with an open reading frame (ORF) that encoded the carboxyl-terminal 250 amino acids of the N protein. The M1 and M2 genes were 771 and 700 nucleotides in length, respectively, with ORFs encoding proteins of 227 and 193 amino acids. The M1 gene sequence contained an additional small ORF that could encode a highly basic, arginine-rich protein of 25 amino acids. Comparisons of the N, M1, and M2 gene sequences of HIRRV with the corresponding sequences of the fish rhabdoviruses, infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) or viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV) indicated that HIRRV was more closely related to IHNV than to VHSV, but was clearly distinct from either. The putative consensus gene termination sequence for IHNV and VHSV, AGAYAG(A)7, was present in the N-M1, M1-M2, and M2-G intergenic regions of HIRRV as were the putative transcription initiation sequences YGGCAC and AACA. An Escherichia coli expression system was used to produce recombinant proteins from the M1 and M2 genes of HIRRV. These were the same size as the authentic M1 and M2 proteins and reacted with anti-HIRRV rabbit serum in western blots. These reagents can be used for further study of the fish immune response and to test novel control methods.


Hirame · Rhabdovirus · Phosphoprotein · Matrix protein


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