Patterns of divergence in the vCXCL and vGPCR gene clusters in primate cytomegalovirus genomes

Virology. 2009 Dec 5;395(1):21-32. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2009.09.002. Epub 2009 Oct 9.


Primate cytomegalovirus (CMV) genomes contain tandemly repeated gene clusters putatively encoding divergent CXC chemokine ligand-like proteins (vCXCLs) and G protein-coupled receptor-like proteins (vGPCRs). In human, chimpanzee and rhesus CMVs, respectively, the vCXCL cluster contains two, three and six genes, and the vGPCR cluster contains two, two and five genes. We report that (i) green monkey CMV strains fall into two groups, containing either eight and five genes or seven and six genes in the respective clusters, and (ii) owl monkey CMV has two and zero genes. Phylogenetic analysis suggested that the vCXCL cluster evolved from a CXCL chemokine gene (probably GRO-alpha) that was captured in an incompletely spliced form by an ancestor of Old and New World primate CMVs, and that the vGPCR cluster evolved from a GPCR gene captured by an Old World primate CMV. Both clusters appear to have evolved via complex duplication and deletion events.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Chemokines, CXC / genetics
  • Cytomegalovirus / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene Duplication
  • Genes, Viral
  • Genome, Viral*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family*
  • Phylogeny*
  • Primates / virology
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics
  • Sequence Alignment


  • Chemokines, CXC
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled