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Open Access Research

Genetic characterization of a reptilian calicivirus (Cro1)

Carlos Sandoval-Jaime1, Gabriel I Parra1, Alvin W Smith2, Kim Y Green1 and Stanislav V Sosnovtsev1*

Author Affiliations

1 Caliciviruses Section/LID/NIAID/NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA

2 Laboratory for Calicivirus Studies, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, 97330, USA

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Virology Journal 2012, 9:297  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-9-297

Published: 29 November 2012

Abstract

Background

Vesiviruses in the family Caliciviridae infect a broad range of animal hosts including mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles. The vesivirus Cro1 strains were isolated from diseased snakes in the San Diego zoo in 1978 and reported as the first caliciviruses found in reptiles. The goal of this study was to characterize the Cro1 strain 780032I that was isolated in cell culture from a rock rattlesnake (Crotalus lepidus) in the original outbreak.

Results

We re-amplified the original virus stock in Vero cells, and determined its full-length genome sequence. The Cro1 genome is 8296 nucleotides (nt) in length and has a typical vesivirus organization, with three open reading frames (ORF), ORF1 (5643 nt), ORF2 (2121 nt), and ORF3 (348 nt) encoding a nonstructural polyprotein, the major capsid protein precursor, and a minor structural protein, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis of the full-length genome sequence revealed that the Cro1 virus clustered most closely with the VESV species of the genus Vesivirus, but was genetically distinct (82-83% identities with closest strains).

Conclusions

This is the first description of a full-length genome sequence from a reptile calicivirus (Cro1). The availability of the Cro1 genome sequence should facilitate investigation of the molecular mechanisms involved in Cro1 virus evolution and host range.

Keywords:
Reptile calicivirus; Cro1; Complete genome; Vesivirus phylogeny