What is the structure of the molluscum contagiosum virus genomes?

Updated: Aug 09, 2018
  • Author: Ashish C Bhatia, MD, FAAD, FACMS; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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The primary structure and coding capacity of molluscum contagiosum virus was determined by Senkevich et al. [8] Analysis of the molluscum contagiosum virus genome has revealed that it encodes approximately 182 proteins, 105 of which have direct counterparts in orthopoxviruses.

Restriction endonuclease analysis of the genomes has identified 4 types. Molluscum contagiosum virus I and molluscum contagiosum virus II have genomes of 185 kilobases (kb) and 195 kb, respectively. Molluscum contagiosum virus III and IV are very rare.

No relationship between virus type and lesional morphology or anatomical distribution is known. Molluscum contagiosum virus encodes an antioxidant protein (MC066L), selenoprotein, which functions as a scavenger of reactive oxygen metabolites and protects cells from damage from ultraviolet (UV) light and peroxide. The particular role of this protein is not known.

In one study, type I caused 96.6% and type II caused 3.4% of infections in 147 patients, but no relationship was observed between virus type and lesional morphology or anatomic distribution. [1]

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