Rubella virus (RuV) also known as German measles, is the only member of the genus Rubivirus and belongs to the family of Togaviridae. The greatest threat of rubella virus to public health is its teratogenicity. Pregnant women who infected with RV can cause congenital harm on infants, especially to the developing baby in the first 3 months of pregnancy. Rubella virus is spread through blood to fetus, resulting in spontaneous abortion, stillbirth and fetal infection. Congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) is an important cause of blindness, deafness, congenital heart disease and mental retardation. It is estimated that more than 100,000 infants are born with CRS each year worldwide. Rubella mostly affects children, adolescents and young adults. Rubella Virus can cause transient joint involvement such as polyarthralgia and arthritis.
Rubella virus is a spherical 40- to 80-nm, positive-sense, single-stranded RNA virus, the genome of this virus is 9.7 kilobase. Rubella virus has three major structural proteins: two envelope glycoproteins, E1 (58 kDa) and E2 (42-47 kDa) and a nucleocapsid protein: C (33 kDa), shown as in Fig.1. Epitopes are mainly present in the E1 membrane protein. E1 is an envelope glycoprotein, which forms a spike of the viral envelope with E2. There are 20 and 23 hydrophobic amino acid residues at the N-terminus of E1 and E2, they can transport the two glycoproteins as signal peptides to endoplasmic reticulum cavity. The cleavage between capsid protein C and E1, E2 glycoproteins is accomplished by signal peptidase. Research showed that the variation degree of E1 gene sequence is similar to the whole plant gene sequence. Therefore, researchers regard E1 protein gene as a representative of RV. E1 has a relative molecular mass of 57,000 which consists of 412 - 418 amino acid residues. It is rich in proline and cysteine, meanwhile, the amino acid sequences of the different strains are different, but the amino acid sequences of the epitope cluster are same with each other.
Fig 1. The structure of Rubella Virus
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