BoDV-1/2 have the smallest genome (8.9 kilobases) of any Mononegavirales member and are unique within that order in their ability to replicate within the host cell nucleus.
BoDV-1 was isolated from a diseased horse in the 1970s, but the virus particles were difficult to characterise. Nonetheless, the virus' genome has been characterised. It is a linear negative-sense single stranded RNA virus in the order Mononegavirales.
Several of the proteins encoded by the BoDV-1 genome have been characterised. The G glycoprotein is important for viral entry into the host cell.
The P40 nucleoprotein from BoDV-1 is multi-helical in structure and can be divided into two subdomains, each of which has an alpha-bundle topology. The nucleoprotein assembles into a planar homotetramer, with the RNA genome either wrapping around the outside of the tetramer or possibly fitting within the charged central channel of the tetramer .
Bornaviruses have negative sense RNAgenomes The negative sense RNA is copied to make a positive sense RNA template. This template is then used to synthesise many copies of the negative sense RNA genome. This is like making copies of a mold, and then using these molds to make many more viruses.
A Bayesian analysis of Borna disease virus 1 suggests that the current strains diversified ~300 years ago and that avian-host bornaviruses evolved considerably earlier than this. The ancestral virus seems likely to have been a high AT content virus.
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^Miranda HC, Nunes SO, Calvo ES, Suzart S, Itano EN, Watanabe MA (January 2006). "Detection of Borna disease virus p24 RNA in peripheral blood cells from Brazilian mood and psychotic disorder patients". Journal of Affective Disorders. 90 (1): 43–7. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2005.10.008. PMID16324750.
^Schwemmle, M. and Lipkin, W.I. (2004) Models and mechanisms of Bornavirus pathogenesis. Drug Discovery Today: Disease Mechanisms 1(2):211–216