Author(s): Gubser C, Hu S, Kellam P, Smith GL
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Abstract The evolutionary relationships of 26 sequenced members of the poxvirus family have been investigated by comparing their genome organization and gene content and by using DNA and protein sequences for phylogenetic analyses. The central region of the genome of chordopoxviruses (ChPVs) is highly conserved in gene content and arrangement, except for some gene inversions in Fowlpox virus (FPV) and species-specific gene insertions in FPV and Molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV). In the central region 90 genes are conserved in all ChPVs, but no gene from near the termini is conserved throughout the subfamily. Inclusion of two entomopoxvirus (EnPV) sequences reduces the number of conserved genes to 49. The EnPVs are divergent from ChPVs and between themselves. Relationships between ChPV genera were evaluated by comparing the genome size, number of unique genes, gene arrangement and phylogenetic analyses of protein sequences. Overall, genus Avipoxvirus is the most divergent. The next most divergent ChPV genus is Molluscipoxvirus, whose sole member, MCV, infects only man. The Suipoxvirus, Capripoxvirus, Leporipoxvirus and Yatapoxvirus genera cluster together, with Suipoxvirus and Capripoxvirus sharing a common ancestor, and are distinct from the genus Orthopoxvirus (OPV). Within the OPV genus, Monkeypox virus, Ectromelia virus and Cowpox virus strain Brighton Red (BR) do not group closely with any other OPV, Variola virus and Camelpox virus form a subgroup, and Vaccinia virus is most closely related to CPV-GRI-90. This suggests that CPV-BR and GRI-90 should be separate species.
This article was published in J Gen Virol
and referenced in Journal of Tropical Diseases & Public Health