Evolutional insights on uncharacterized SARS coronavirus genes

Alex Inberg, Michal Linial*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The complete genome of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and many of its variants has been determined by several laboratories. The genome contains fourteen predicted open reading frames (ORFs). However, a function had been clearly assigned for only six of these ORFs, in the viral replication, transcription and structural constituents. The others are herein referred to as uncharacterized ORFs (UC-ORFs). Here, we try to provide a relational insight on those UC-ORFs, suggesting that a number of them are remotely related to structural proteins of coronaviruses and other viruses infecting mammalian hosts. Surprisingly, several of the UC-ORFs exhibit considerable similarity with other SARS-CoV ORFs. These observations may provide clues on the evolution and genome dynamics of the SARS-CoV.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)159-164
Number of pages6
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 5 Nov 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to Noam Kaplan and Menachem Fromer for critical reading of the manuscript. This study is supported by The Sudarsky Center for Computational Biology in the Hebrew University and the NoE BioSapience consortium grant.


  • CoV, coronavirus
  • Coronavirus
  • HIV, human immunodeficiency virus
  • Hypothetical protein
  • ORF, open reading frame
  • Proteome
  • Remote homolog
  • SARS, severe acute respiratory syndrome
  • Sequence homology
  • UC-ORF, uncharacterized open reading frame
  • Viral evolution


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