Novel poxviruses were identified in skin lesions of several species of cetaceans and pinnipeds using polymerase chain reaction targeting DNA polymerase and DNA topoisomerase I genes of members of the subfamily Chordopoxvirinae . With the exception of parapoxviruses, no molecular data of marine mammal poxviruses were available to infer genetic and evolutionary relatedness to terrestrial vertebrate poxviruses. Viruses were assigned to a cetacean poxvirus 1 (CPV-1) group based on nucleotide and amino acid identities of gene fragments amplified from skin lesions of Asian bottlenose ( Tursiops aduncus ), Atlantic bottlenose ( Tursiops truncatus ), rough-toothed ( Steno bredanensis ), and striped ( Stenella coeruleoalba ) dolphins. A different poxvirus was detected in skin lesions of a bowhead whale ( Balaena mysticetus ) and provisionally assigned to a CPV-2 group. These viruses showed highest identity to terrestrial poxviruses of the genera Orthopoxvirus and Suipoxvirus . A novel species-specific poxvirus was also identified in skin lesions of Steller sea lions ( Eumetopias jubatus ). None of these poxviruses were found to have amplifiable hemagglutinin gene sequences. Novel parapoxviruses were also identified in skin lesions of Steller sea lions and spotted seals ( Phoca largha ). A significant degree of divergence was observed in sequences of Steller sea lion parapoxviruses, while those of spotted seals and harbor seals ( Phoca vitulina ) were highly conserved.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 1, 2006
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