The only complete genome nucleotide sequences of measles virus (MeV) reported to date have been for the Edmonston (Ed) strain and derivatives, which were isolated decades ago, passaged extensively under laboratory conditions, and appeared to be nonpathogenic. Partial sequencing of many other strains has identified >/=15 genotypes. Most recent isolates, including those typically pathogenic, belong to genotypes distinct from the Edmonston type. Therefore, the sequence of Ed and related strains may not be representative of those of pathological measles circulating at that or any time in human populations. Taking into account these issues as well as the fact that so many studies have been based upon Ed-related strains, we have sequenced the entire genome of a recently isolated pathogenic strain, 9301B. Between this recent isolate and the classical Ed strain, there were 465 nucleotide differences (2.93%) and 114 amino acid differences (2.19%). Computation of nonsynonymous and synonymous substitutions in open reading frames as well as direct comparisons of noncoding regions of each gene and extracistronic regulatory regions clearly revealed the regions where changes have been permissible and nonpermissible. Notably, considerable nonsynonymous substitutions appeared to be permissible for the P frame to maintain a high degree of sequence conservation for the overlapping C frame. However, the cause and the effect were largely unclear for any substitution, indicating that there is a considerable gap between the two strains that cannot be filled. The sequence reported here would be useful as a reference of contemporary wild-type MeV.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.