, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 157-162

Species-Specific Differences in Organization of Orthopoxvirus Kelch-Like Proteins

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Organization of orthopoxvirus proteins of the kelch superfamily and their genes were analyzed and compared. Complete genomic sequences of variola (VAR), monkeypox (MPV), vaccinia (VAC), and species-specific regions of cowpox (CPV) viruses were used in the work. Despite the multiplicity of kelch-like proteins in orthopoxviruses, their function is still vague. It has been discovered that the genes of orthopoxvirus kelch-like proteins are localized only to the terminal variable regions of the genome and display species-specific differences in the lengths of the proteins they potentially encode. All the genes belonging to kelch superfamily in the genome of VAR, which has the only host–the man, are mutationally destroyed. However, CPV, displaying the widest host range among orthopoxviruses, encode the most numerous set of kelch-like proteins. Weak homologies between kelch-like proteins of one virus were demonstrated as well as high homologies between isologues of different orthopoxvirus species. The comparison performed suggest that CPV virus is most ancient and may be considered as the ancestor of other orthopoxviruses pathogenic for humans.