J Gen Virol. 1999 Feb;80 ( Pt 2):355-62.
Characterization of the L gene and 5' trailer region of Ebola virus.
The nucleotide sequences of the L gene and 5' trailer region of Ebola virus strain Mayinga (subtype Zaire) have been determined, thus completing the sequence of the Ebola virus genome. The putative transcription start signal of the L gene was identical to the determined 5' terminus of the L mRNA (5' GAGGAAGAUUAA) and showed a high degree of similarity to the corresponding regions of other Ebola virus genes. The 3' end of the L mRNA terminated with 5' AUUAUAAAAAA, a sequence which is distinct from the proposed transcription termination signals of other genes. The 5' trailer sequence of the Ebola virus genomic RNA consisted of 676 nt and revealed a self-complementary sequence at the extreme end which may play an important role in virus replication. The L gene contained a single ORF encoding a polypeptide of 2212 aa. The deduced amino acid sequence showed identities of about 73 and 44% to the L proteins of Ebola virus strain Maleo (subtype Sudan) and Marburg virus, respectively. Sequence comparison studies of the Ebola virus L proteins with several corresponding proteins of other non-segmented, negative-strand RNA viruses, including Marburg viruses, confirmed a close relationship between filoviruses and members of the Paramyxovirinae. The presence of several conserved linear domains commonly found within L proteins of other members of the order Mononegavirales identified this protein as the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase of Ebola virus.