A cDNA clone containing all of the 26 S mRNA coding region of the RNA genome of Venezuelan equine encephalitis (VEE) virus, virulent strain Trinidad donkey (TRD), has been constructed and sequenced. The nucleotide and deduced amino acid sequences of the 26 S RNA of VEE virus conform to the general organization of the alphavirus subgenomic mRNA. Excluding the poly(A) tail, the VEE 26 S RNA is 3913 nucleotides long with a protein coding region of 3762 nucleotides. Codon usage in the translated region is nonrandom and correlates well with that reported for Sindbis (SIN), Semliki Forest (SF), and Ross River (RR) alphaviruses. Highly conserved sequences of 19 to 22 nucleotides representing putative replicase recognition sites occur at the 26 S RNA junction region of the 42 S genomic RNA and at the 3′ terminus immediately preceding the poly(A) tail. The conserved sequence at the 26 S/42 S junction region of VEE virus differs from that of other alpha-viruses in that an ochre termination codon (UAA) is substituted for a GGU (Gly) codon present in the other viruses. The 5′ and 3′ noncoding regions (30 and 121 nucleotides, respectively) of the VEE 26 S RNA are shorter than has been reported for several other alphaviruses. The approximate transmembrane domains of the VEE E1 and E2 envelope glycoproteins have been identified. VEE E1 contains a single asparagine-linked glycosylation site, whereas E2 has three such sites, all of which are apparently glycosylated. The deduced amino acid sequence of the VEE polyprotein shows an overall homology of 44 to 46% with the precursor polyproteins of SIN, SF, and RR viruses. VEE virus capsid, E1, and E2 structural proteins show 43 to 46%,50 to 53%,and 36 to 41% homology, respectively, with the cognate proteins of SIN, SF, and RR viruses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas