The sequences of the nucleoprotein (N) and hemagglutinin (H) genes are routinely used for molecular epidemiologic studies of measles virus (MV). However, the amount of genetic diversity contained in other genes of MV has not been thoroughly evaluated. In this report, the nucleotide sequences of the phosphoprotein (P) genes from 34 wild-type strains representing 15 genotypes of MV were analyzed and found to be almost as variable as the H genes but less variable than the N genes. Deduced amino acid sequences of the three proteins encoded by the P gene, P, V and C, demonstrated considerably higher variability than the H proteins. Phylogenetic analysis showed the same tree topography for the P gene sequences as previously seen for the N and H genes. RNA editing of P gene transcripts affects the relative ratios of P and V proteins, which may have consequences for pathogenicity. Wild-type isolates produced more transcripts with more than one G insertion; however, there was no significant difference in the use of P and V open reading frames, suggesting that the relative amounts of P and V proteins in infected cells would be similar for both vaccine and wild-type strains.
- RNA editing