Identification and characterization of a shrimp white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) gene that encodes a novel chimeric polypeptide of cellular-type thymidine kinase and thymidylate kinase

M. F. Tsai, H. T. Yu, H. F. Tzeng, J. H. Leu, C. M. Chou, C. J. Huang, C. H. Wang, J. Y. Lin, G. H. Kou, C. F. Lo

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From previously constructed genomic libraries of a Taiwan WSSV isolate, a putative WSSV tk-tmk gene was identified. Uniquely, the open reading frame (ORF) of this gene was predicted to encode a novel chimeric protein of 388 amino acids with significant homology to two proteins: thymidine kinase (TK) and thymidylate kinase (TMK). Northern blot analysis with a WSSV tk-tmk-specific riboprobe detected a major transcript of 1.6 kb. When healthy adult Penaeus monodon shrimp were inoculated with WSSV, the tk-tmk gene transcript was first detected by RT-PCR analysis at 4 h postinfection and transcription levels continued to increase over the first 18 h. The gene's major in vitro transcription and translation product, equivalent to the predicted size (43 kDa), is a single chimeric protein that includes both the TK and TMK functional motifs. Evidence for phylogenetic analysis and sequence alignment suggested that the gene may have resulted from the fusion of a cellular-type TK gene and a cellular-type TMK gene. Its unique arrangement may also provide a valuable gene marker for WSSV. (C) 2000 Academic Press.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-110
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 10 2000
Externally publishedYes



  • Penaeus monodon
  • Taiwan WSSV isolate
  • Thymidine kinase
  • Thymidylate kinase
  • White spot syndrome virus
  • WSSV tk-tmk gene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases

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