In order to understand the coding strategies and identify potential cis -acting sequences in Leishmania RNA virus 1 (LRV1), a complete cDNA sequence was obtained for LRV1-4 and compared to the sequence reported for LRV1-1. The results show that the 5′ end of LRV1 is conserved at the nucleotide level while open reading frames (ORFs) 2 and 3 are conserved at the amino acid level. A simple translation initiation consensus sequence is conserved at the 5′ end of ORF2 but absent from ORF3, consistent with a possibility that ORF3 is expressed as a gag-pol fusion protein. Comparison of secondary structure predictions obtained for both isolates identified nucleotide sequences capable of forming conserved stem-loops at the virus termini and in the putative frameshift region between ORF2 and ORF3. Although direct evidence is lacking, the appearance of compensatory nucleotide substitutions suggests that the structures may form in vivo. Possible functions for the conserved structures are discussed.
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