Arch Virol (1998) 143: 1993–2002
Nucleotide sequence of the 5
-terminus of Newcastle disease
virus and assembly of the complete genomic sequence:
agreement with the “rule of six”
R. J. Phillips, A. C. R. Samson, and P. T. Emmerson
Department of Biochemistry and Genetics, The Medical School,
University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K.
Accepted May 31, 1998
Summary. We have determined the sequences of the 5
ends of three strains of
Newcastle disease virus, permitting the assembly of the entire genomic sequence,
which amounts to 15,186 nucleotides. This length is in agreement with the rule of
six, which has been shown to determine replication efﬁciency in similar viruses.
Comparison of the extreme 5
end of the trailer sequence with that of the 3
terminal leader sequence of the virus reveals a high degree of complementarity.
Variation between the 5
-terminal sequences of the different strains reveals the
different trailer lengths.
Newcastle disease virus (NDV), the aetiological agent for the avian disease also
known as fowl pest, is a species in the genus Rubulavirus of the family Paramyx-
oviridae . The paramyxovirus family belongs to the order Mononegavirales
which consists of viruses possessing a genome of single-stranded, non-segmented
negative-sense RNA . The life cycle of these viruses (reviewed in ),
following cellular infection, involves transcription of the negative-sense RNA
genome by the viral RNA polymerase complex to give mRNAs required for pro-
duction of the viral proteins. Replication then occurs by the synthesis of a full
length, positive-sense antigenome, which in turn acts as a template for produc-
tion of full length genomic RNA. Recognition of both genomic and antigenomic
RNAs as templates for the viral RNA polymerase depends on their encapsidation
by the viral nucleocapsid protein.