, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 577-583
Date: 01 Sep 2007

Analysis of the variability of CMV strains in the RL11D domain of the RL11 multigene family

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Human cytomegalovirus (CMV) contains one of the largest genomes within the herpesvirus family and includes 12 multigene families. One of these is the RL11 family, whose members encode a characteristic domain, called RL11D. In the present study, the sequence variability of RL11D within the UL1, UL4, UL6, UL7, and UL10 genes of the RL11 family was investigated. For this purpose, these genes were analyzed in 70 clinical isolates obtained from urine, bronchoalveolar lavage, and blood of different patients. Substantial genetic variability among the clinical isolates was observed in all five genes analyzed. Based on phylogenetic analysis of variations in RL11D, the clinical isolates could be classified into three genotypes for UL1, 7, and 10 and, four genotypes for UL4 and 6. Further analysis showed statistically significant linkages between the following pairs of genes: UL6/UL7, UL4/UL7, UL1/UL4, and UL4/UL6. The data show that CMV strains exhibit a high interstrain variability in the RL11D domain of various RL11 family genes. Sequence variations, however, can be clearly grouped into a limited number of distinct genotypes. The genetic linkages found probably reflect a low frequency of recombination between genes that are arranged in close proximity on the viral genome.