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Virion Structure of Baboon Reovirus, a Fusogenic Orthoreovirus That Lacks an Adhesion Fiber


Baboon reovirus (BRV) is a member of the fusogenic subgroup of orthoreoviruses. Unlike most other members of its genus, BRV lacks S-segment coding sequences for the outer fiber protein that binds to cell surface receptors. It shares this lack with aquareoviruses, which constitute a related genus and are also fusogenic. We used electron cryomicroscopy and three-dimensional image reconstruction to determine the BRV virion structure at 9.0-Å resolution. The results show that BRV lacks a protruding fiber at its icosahedral 5-fold axes or elsewhere. The results also show that BRV is like nonfusogenic mammalian and fusogenic avian orthoreoviruses in having 150 copies of the core clamp protein, not 120 as in aquareoviruses. On the other hand, there are no hub-and-spoke complexes attributable to the outer shell protein in the P2 and P3 solvent channels of BRV, which makes BRV like fusogenic avian orthoreoviruses and aquareoviruses but unlike nonfusogenic mammalian orthoreoviruses. The outermost "flap" domains of the BRV core turret protein appear capable of conformational variability within the virion, a trait previously unseen among other ortho- and aquareoviruses. New cDNA sequence determinations for the BRV L1 and M2 genome segments, encoding the core turret and outer shell proteins, were helpful for interpreting the structural features of those proteins. Based on these findings, we conclude that the evolution of ortho- and aquareoviruses has included a series of discrete gains or losses of particular components, several of which cross taxonomic boundaries. Gain or loss of adhesion fibers is one of several common themes in double-stranded RNA virus evolution.

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