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Open Access Research

Sequencing of bovine herpesvirus 4 v.test strain reveals important genome features

Leonor Palmeira, Bénédicte Machiels, Céline Lété, Alain Vanderplasschen and Laurent Gillet*

Author Affiliations

Immunology-Vaccinology (B43b), Department of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases (B43b), Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Liège, B-4000 Liège, Belgium

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Virology Journal 2011, 8:406  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-8-406

Published: 16 August 2011

Abstract

Background

Bovine herpesvirus 4 (BoHV-4) is a useful model for the human pathogenic gammaherpesviruses Epstein-Barr virus and Kaposi's Sarcoma-associated Herpesvirus. Although genome manipulations of this virus have been greatly facilitated by the cloning of the BoHV-4 V.test strain as a Bacterial Artificial Chromosome (BAC), the lack of a complete genome sequence for this strain limits its experimental use.

Methods

In this study, we have determined the complete sequence of BoHV-4 V.test strain by a pyrosequencing approach.

Results

The long unique coding region (LUR) consists of 108,241 bp encoding at least 79 open reading frames and is flanked by several polyrepetitive DNA units (prDNA). As previously suggested, we showed that the prDNA unit located at the left prDNA-LUR junction (prDNA-G) differs from the other prDNA units (prDNA-inner). Namely, the prDNA-G unit lacks the conserved pac-2 cleavage and packaging signal in its right terminal region. Based on the mechanisms of cleavage and packaging of herpesvirus genomes, this feature implies that only genomes bearing left and right end prDNA units are encapsulated into virions.

Conclusions

In this study, we have determined the complete genome sequence of the BAC-cloned BoHV-4 V.test strain and identified genome organization features that could be important in other herpesviruses.