Genetic and Molecular Studies of the Phlebotomus Fever Group of Viruses.
Final rept. (Annual) 1 Feb 78-29 Feb 84,
ALABAMA UNIV IN BIRMINGHAM DEPT OF MICROBIOLOGY
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Studies supported by this contract have reported the characterization of the structural components of several Phlebotomus fever serogroup viruses viral polypeptides and RNA species. The viruses studied include Punta Toro PT, Karimabad KAR, Chagres CHG, Sandfly fever Sicilian SFS Tesh and Sabin isolates, Sandfly fever Naples SFN, Rift Valley fever RVF, Phlebotomus 3 virus Phl 3, Icoraci ICO and Buenaventura BUE viruses. In summary, the evidence has shown that the viruses have 3 virion RNA species large, L, 2.6-2.8 x 10 to the 6th power, medium, M, 1.85-2.2 x 1o to the 6th power and small, S, 0.7-0.8 x 10 to the 6th power, which are comparable in number and size to those of other members of the family except for the S RNA which is significantly larger than the 0.4-0.5 x 10 to the 6th power dalton S RNA of Bunyavirus genus members. The studies have shown that, although the nucleocapsid, N, polypeptides of Phlebotomus fever group viruses 20-24 x 10 to the 3rd power daltons are similar in size to those of bunyaviruses, the glycoproteins G1, G2, 57-69 x 10 to the 3rd power daltons are quite different e.g., bunyaviruses G1 115 x 10 to the 3rd power daltons. With the demonstration of a tripartite RNA genome, genetic analyses were undertaken in order to determine the coding strategies of the 3 RNA species and determine if recombinant viruses could be obtained and used for vaccine purposes. The coding strategy of the 3 RNA species have been investigated with the goal of characterizing the epitopes on the viral antigens that elicit and interact with neutralizing antibodies.