The non-structural leader protein gene of foot-and-mouth disease virus is highly variable between serotypes

Manju George, Ramamurthy Venkataramanan, C. B. Gurumurthy, Divakar Hemadri

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20 Scopus citations


Aphthoviruses are unique among picornaviruses in that they alone encode a functional L proteinase as the first component of the viral polyprotein. The L genes of a few Indian foot-and-mouth disease viruses were sequenced and compared with those available to study the extent of variation in this gene. Besides the two in-frame start codons present in all FMDV L genes, the Asia-I vaccine virus had an additional in-frame AUG (start) codon, at codon position 3. Amino acid sequence comparison revealed that 39.8% of positions were capable of accepting replacements, yet the residues of the catalytic dyad were totally conserved. Sequence comparison at the C-terminus of the protein indicated that K/R↓GAGQS is sufficient for L/P1 cleavage. Phylogenetic analysis based on the L gene sequences did not reveal any serotype-specific clustering. The probable implications of the observed high variability in this non-structural gene is briefly discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-278
Number of pages8
JournalVirus Genes
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2001



  • FMDV
  • Leader gene sequence variability
  • Non-structural L protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Virology

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