Malignant rabbit fibroma virus (MRV) has been shown to be a lethal tumorigenic poxvirus of rabbits derived from a recombination event between Shope fibroma virus (SFV), which induces benign fibromas in rabbits, and myxoma virus, the agent of myxomatosis. We have cloned and sequenced all of the MRV recombination junctions, which are located near the left and right terminal inverted repeat (TIR) regions, and present a composite map of the MRV genome with respect to the relevant gene products. The two junctions closest to the MRV termini, at identical positions at the left and right ends, are at nucleotide 5272 and result in an in-frame fusion protein (ORF T-5) in which the N-terminal 232 aa are derived from an SFV sequence linked to a C-terminus derived from myxoma. At the left MRV TIR the recombination junction distal from the terminus maps to nucleotide 9946 but leaves the adjacent gene virtually unchanged from its SFV homolog. At the right terminus, the relevant junction sequences from MRV and myxoma could not be cloned in wild-type Escherichia coli but were maintained stably in a recA recBC sbcB host. The SFV/myxoma junction at this location maps 5′ to a growth factor gene (SFGF) which is related to those encoding epidermal growth factor and transforming growth factor-α. As a result, the myxoma growth factor gene has been deleted in MRV and replaced in toto by the SFV gene. The recombination junction upstream from the SFGF gene creates an in-frame fusion in ORF T11-R in which the N-terminal amino acids are derived from myxoma and the remainder from SFV. In summary, MRV has received the following ORFs from SFV: at the left terminus T5 (fusion), T6, T7, and T8; at the right terminus, T5 (fusion), T6, T7, T8, T9-R, SFGF, and T11-R (fusion).
ASJC Scopus subject areas