Virus Genes

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 113–119

Completion of the Sequence of a Cetacean Morbillivirus and Comparative Analysis of the Complete Genome Sequences of Four Morbilliviruses



The gene encoding the large (L) protein and the genome termini of the dolphin strain of cetacean morbillivirus (CeMV) were sequenced. The CeMV genome is 15702 nucleotides long and has been compared with other available morbillivirus genome sequences in regards to the “rule of six” and the “phase” of any particular nucleotide, defined as its position within a given hexamer, which here is defined as a group of six nucleotides starting from the 3′ end of the genomic RNA. With exception of the position of the start of the F gene, the phase of the transcription start sites of each gene is strictly conserved between the morbilliviruses, but each gene is in a different phase. The lengths of gene transcripts differ between viruses by multiples of six nucleotides with exception of the M and F transcripts. The differences between the various morbilliviruses result from deletions or insertions of multiples of six nucleotides in the 3′ and 5′ UTRs of the different viral genes. The four bases were distributed non-randomly over the six positions in the hexamer boxes. However, the distribution patterns of each of the four bases indicated that multiples of three were more prevalent than those of six nucleotides. This reflected the positions of nucleotides in codons and codon usage in the reading frames. The L protein of CeMV was found to be 2183 amino acids in length and similar to that of MV and RPV. The CeMV L protein sequence was found to be equidistant beween those of the CDV/PDV and MV/RPV subgroups of the morbilliviruses. This concurs with the analyses carried out on the other structural proteins.


cetacean morbillivirus dolphin morbillivirus paramyxovirus phasing rule of six sequence periodicity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. K. Rima
    • 1
  • A. M. J. Collin
    • 1
  • J. A. P. Earle
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biology and BiochemistryThe Queen’s University of BelfastBelfastN.Ireland

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