Genomic Differences between Guinea Pig Lethal and Nonlethal Marburg Virus Variants

Lofts, Loreen L.; Ibrahim, M. Sofi; Negley, Diane L.; Hevey, Michael C.; Schmaljohn, Alan L.
November 2007
Journal of Infectious Diseases;11/15/2007 Supplement, Vol. 196 Issue 2, pS305
Academic Journal
The complete genome sequences of 2 closely related plaque-derived variants of Marburg virus (MARV) species Lake Victoria marburgvirus, strain Musoke, indicate only a few regions of the RNA genome as underlying the differences between the 2 viruses. One variant is 190% lethal for guinea pigs and the other much less virulent, when guinea pigs are challenged with 1000 pfu of virus. Only 4 mutations that result in amino acid changes were identified, 1 in viral matrix protein VP40 and 3 in L, the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. In addition, 6 differences were identified in noncoding regions of transcribed mRNA, and 1 silent codon change was identified in the L gene. Interestingly, the amino acid mutation identified in VP40 occurs in a nonconserved loop structure between 2 domains that are homologues only among MARV species. The L gene mutations ere equally intriguing, clustering near a highly conserved motif in viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerases.


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