Recently, a new paramyxovirus, now known as Nipah virus (NV), emerged in Malaysia and Singapore, causing fatal encephalitis in humans and a respiratory syndrome in pigs. Initial studies had indicated that NV is antigenically and genetically related to Hendra virus (HV). We generated the sequences of the N, P/C/V, M, F, and G genes of NV and compared these sequences with those of HV and other members of the family Paramyxoviridae. The intergenic regions of NV were identical to those of HV, and the gene start and stop sequences of NV were nearly identical to those of HV. The open reading frames (ORFs) for the V and C proteins within the P gene were found in NV, but the ORF encoding a potential short basic protein found in the P gene of HV was not conserved in NV. The N, P, O, V, M, F, and G ORFs in NV have nucleotide homologies ranging from 88% to 70% and predicted amino acid homologies ranging from 92% to 67% in comparison with HV. The predicted fusion cleavage sequence of the F protein of NV had a single amino acid substitution (K to R) in comparison with HV. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that although HV and NV are closely related, they are clearly distinct from any of the established genera within the Paramyxoviridae and should be considered a new genus. (C) 2000 Academic Press.
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