The sequence of the entire RNA genome of the type flavivirus, yellow fever virus, has been obtained. Inspection of this sequence reveals a single long open reading frame of 10,233 nucleotides, which could encode a polypeptide of 3411 amino acids. The structural proteins are found within the amino-terminal 780 residues of this polyprotein; the remainder of the open reading frame consists of nonstructural viral polypeptides. This genome organization implies that mature viral proteins are produced by posttranslational cleavage of a polyprotein precursor and has implications for flavivirus RNA replication and for the evolutionary relation of this virus family to other RNA viruses.

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