A novel parvovirus was identified in Manchurian chipmunks inhabiting Korea, Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) was detected in sera from 4 animals among 62 apparently healthy chipmunks, Electron microscopic examination of the HBsAg-positive sera revealed virus-like spherical particles 20-22 nm in diameter. Extraction of nucleic acid under annealing conditions from the serum samples containing virus-like particles yielded a single species of DNA molecule with the electrophoretic mobility of 5.6-kb double-stranded DNA. Four overlapping clones that encompassed almost the full-length viral genome, except both ends, were obtained. By sequencing these clones, we determined the sequence of 5097 nucleotides of the viral DNA. Two open reading frames were identified, with the left side open reading frame encoding a putative nonstructural protein and the right side open reading frame encoding a putative capsid protein. The nucleotide and amino acid sequences showed significant homology to parvovirus B19 and simian parvovirus, but showed little homology to other mammalian autonomous parvoviruses or adeno-associated viruses. These observations indicate that the virus isolated from Manchurian chipmunks is a novel parvovirus and may be a potentially useful animal model of human B19 infection as a new member of the Erythrovirus genus of the Parvoviridae.
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