Virus Genes

, 40:67 | Cite as

The evolution of two homologues of the core protein VP6 of epizootic haemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV), which correspond to the geographical origin of the virus

  • S. J. Anthony
  • K. E. Darpel
  • S. Maan
  • G. Sutton
  • H. Attoui
  • P. P. C. Mertens


Epizootic haemorrhagic disease virus is a 10-segmented, double-stranded RNA virus. When these ten segments of dsRNA are run on 1% agarose, eastern (Australia, Japan) and western (North America, Africa, Middle-East) strains of the virus can be separated phenotypically based on the migration of genome segments 7–9. In western strains, segments 7–9 are roughly the same size and co-migrate as a single RNA band. In eastern strains, segment 9 is smaller, so while segments 7 and 8 co-migrate, the segment 9 RNA runs faster than its western homologue. Translation experiments demonstrated that these two segment 9 homologues are both functional and produce proteins (VP6) of different sizes—something that has not been reported in any other orbivirus species to date. Sequence analysis suggests that eastern and western versions of segment 9 (VP6) have likely evolved as a response to adaptive selection in different geographical regions via gene duplication and subsequent mutation. These significant findings are considered unusual given the conserved nature of VP6 and its presumed role as the viral helicase. It is not currently known what the biological relevance of each homologue is to the virus.


Epizootic haemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV) dsRNA Electropherotype East/west split Gene duplication VP6 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. J. Anthony
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • K. E. Darpel
    • 1
    • 3
  • S. Maan
    • 1
  • G. Sutton
    • 2
  • H. Attoui
    • 1
  • P. P. C. Mertens
    • 1
  1. 1.Vector-Borne Diseases ProgramInstitute for Animal HealthSurreyUK
  2. 2.Wellcome Trust Centre for Human GeneticsUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  3. 3.Royal Veterinary CollegeUniversity of LondonLondonUK
  4. 4.San Diego Zoo, Institute for Conservation ResearchEscondidoUSA

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