The complete genome sequences of poxviruses isolated from a penguin and a pigeon in South Africa and comparison to other sequenced avipoxviruses


Two novel avipoxviruses from South Africa have been sequenced, one from a Feral Pigeon (Columba livia) (FeP2) and the other from an African penguin (Spheniscus demersus) (PEPV). We present a purpose-designed bioinformatics pipeline for analysis of next generation sequence data of avian poxviruses and compare the different avipoxviruses sequenced to date with specific emphasis on their evolution and gene content.

Results: The FeP2 (282kbp) and PEPV (306kbp) genomes encode 271 and 284 open reading frames respectively and are more closely related to one another (94.4%) than to either fowlpox virus (FWPV) (85.3% and 84.0% respectively) or Canarypox virus (CNPV) (62.0% and 63.4% respectively).

Overall, FeP2, PEPV and FWPV have syntenic gene arrangements; however, major differences exist throughout their genomes. The most striking difference between FeP2 and the FWPV-like avipoxviruses is a large deletion of ~16kbp from the central region of the genome of FeP2 deleting a cc-chemokine-like gene, two Variola virus B22R orthologues, an N1R/p28-like gene and a V-type Ig domain family gene.

FeP2 and PEPV both encode orthologues of vaccinia virus C7L and Interleukin 10. PEPV contains a 77 amino acid long orthologue of Ubiquitin sharing 97% amino acid identity to human ubiquitin.

Conclusions: The genome sequences of FeP2 and PEPV have greatly added to the limited repository of genomic information available for the Avipoxvirus genus.

In the comparison of FeP2 and PEPV to existing sequences, FWPV and CNPV, we have established insights into African avipoxvirus evolution. Our data supports the independent evolution of these South African avipoxviruses from a common ancestral virus to FWPV and CNPV.

Author: Kristy OffermanOlivia CaruleiAnelda Philine van der WaltNicola DouglassAnna-Lise Williamson
Credits/Source: BMC Genomics 2014, 15:463



Published on: 2014-06-12



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