The nucleotide sequence of segment S1 and the deduced amino acid sequence of VP7 from bluetongue virus (BTV) serotype 13 was determined. Sequences were obtained by use of standard dideoxy DNA sequencing and by direct sequencing of genomic double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). The dsRNA was sequenced with a new dideoxy protocol that produces 300 to 350 bases per set of reactions. Segment S1 is 1156 bp long and contains one long open reading frame capable of coding for 349 amino acids. The protein, VP7, is rather hydrophobic, and has a calculated molecular weight of 38,619 and a net charge of +1.5 at pH 7.0. Segment S1 of BTV-13 has 79.6% of its nucleotides conserved when compared with segment S1 of BTV-10. While most of these differences occur at the third codon position of the open reading frame, the differences between the 89-base-long, 3' noncoding regions occur predominantly in pockets at positions 1092-1098, 1112-1114, and 1125-1129. Potential stem-loop structures encompassing the stop codon of the open reading frame are proposed for both serotypes. Comparisons of VP7 from BTV-13 and BTV-10 indicate that 93.7% of the amino acid residues are conserved, including a single lysine at position 255. Secondary structure predictions infer an eight-stranded beta-barrel structure between residues 150 and 250. This putative beta-barrel may serve as a target for the development of drugs to combat bluetongue disease. Comparable structures detected in the core proteins of single-stranded RNA viruses from both plants and animals suggest that these viruses and BTV had a common origin.