Striking similarities between vaccinia virus hemagglutinin (VVHA) and proteins belonging to the Ig superfamily clearly indicate that VVHA, a 315-amino acid glycoprotein expressed on the surface of the infected cells, is a novel viral protein that can be added to the expanding list of the Ig superfamily. Its deduced amino acid sequence contains one Ig-like domain at the NH2 terminus, followed by two tandem repeating units and a hydrophobic region, suggestive of membrane spanning. The results offer an opportunity for the further study of the probable evolutionary and possible functional relationship between VVHA and other members of the Ig superfamily. Our observation, together with a recent finding that human CMV possibly encodes a protein similar to the MHC class I antigens (13), provides evidence supporting the fact that the viral capture of cellular Ig-related genes is more common than expected in vaccinia and other viruses, and that usage of an Ig-like domain as recognition signals might be extended from higher animals to animal viruses.

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