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.
- Leader gene sequence variability
- Non-structural L protein
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology