Full-length cDNA copies of S2 genes (segment 8), coding for non-structural protein 2 (NS2) of bluetongue virus serotypes 2, 11, 13 and 17 were selectively synthesized by a modified polymerase chain reaction (Clamp-R) and cloned into the PstI site of the pUC19 plasmid. Each of these S2 cognate genes was 1125 nucleotides in length with an initiation and a termination codon at nucleotides 20-22 and 1082-1084, respectively, resulting in a long open reading frame capable of coding for a protein of 354 amino acids. The deduced amino acid sequence of NS2 protein had a high concentration of lysine and contained a relatively low number of tryptophan and histidine residues. There was a highly conserved hydrophilic region at the carboxyl termini of predicted NS2 proteins in all five BTV serotypes, even though the amino acid sequence in this region in BTV-2 was more variable than in the other four serotypes. There was significant sequence homology of the cognate S2 genes at both the nucleotide and the amino acid levels. Phylogenetic analyses using the S2 gene sequences indicated that BTV-10, -11, -13 and -17 were more closely related and BTV-2 was the most distantly related serotype among the five US bluetongue viruses.
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