Genome of Epinotia aporema granulovirus (EpapGV), a polyorganotropic fast killing betabaculovirus with a novel thymidylate kinase gene
In this report a naturally occurring hypervariable region within the genome of different Cryptophlebia leucotreta granulovirus genotypes is characterized. The region consists of a stretch of direct repeats, short palindromes and an unusual AT-rich region. Although the organization of these repeat sequences is unique to baculoviruses, it has the structural features of a 'non-hr' origin of DNA replication (ori). Restriction analysis and Southern hybridization revealed that this region is expanded during virus replication. Sequence comparison of different isolated genotypes indicated that the expansion is caused by concatenation of short repeats within the region or by concatenation of the complete region. These findings indicate that the expansion of non-hr origin-like regions is not restricted to defective-interfering particles, as was found previously for baculoviruses propagated in cell culture. Moreover, it appears that non-hr complexity contributes to the natural heterogeneity and genetic plasticity of baculovirus genomes. Also, circumstantial evidence is discussed that hr oris might have developed from internal rearrangement and multiplication of a non-hr ori during baculovirus evolution.