The nucleotide sequence of the L gene of Marburg virus, a filovirus: homologies with paramyxoviruses and rhabdoviruses

Virology. 1992 Apr;187(2):534-47. doi: 10.1016/0042-6822(92)90456-y.


The nucleotide sequence of the L gene of Marburg virus, strain Musoke, has been determined. The L gene has a single long open reading frame encoding a polypeptide of 2330 amino acids (MW 267,175) that represents the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. The putative transcription start signal (3'CUACCUAUAAUU 5') and the termination signal (3' UAAUUCUUUUU 5') of the gene could be identified. Computer-assisted comparison of the L protein with L proteins of other nonsegmented negative-stranded RNA viruses (Paramyxoviridae: Sendai virus, Newcastle disease virus, human parainfluenza 3 virus, measles virus, human respiratory syncytial virus; Rhabdoviridae: vesicular stomatitis virus, rabies virus) revealed significant homologies primarily in the N-terminal half of the proteins. We have identified three common conserved boxes (A, B, and C) among filo-, paramyxo-, and rhabdovirus L proteins, which are probably involved in the polymerase function. The L proteins can be divided into an N-terminal half, which seems to accommodate the common enzymatic sites, and a C-terminal half carrying virus specific peculiarities. The data presented here suggest a common evolutionary history for all nonsegmented negative-stranded RNA viruses and show that filoviruses are more closely related to paramyxo- than to rhabdoviruses.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Genes, Viral*
  • Marburgvirus / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Paramyxoviridae / genetics*
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase / genetics*
  • Rhabdoviridae / genetics*
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Viral Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Structural Proteins / genetics*


  • RNA, Viral
  • Viral Proteins
  • Viral Structural Proteins
  • RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase