Niv Sabath (Biology and Biochemistry, University of Houston, TX )
2nd floor Miklat, Biology Build.
As far as protein-coding genes are concerned,
there is a non-zero probability that at least one of
the five possible overlapping sequences of any
gene will contain an open-reading frame (ORF)
of a length that may be suitable for coding a
functional protein. It is, however, very difficult to
determine whether or not such an ORF is functional.
We developed a new method that employs
evolutionary principles to identify functional
overlapping genes based on the signature
of natural selection. With this method,
we discovered a new overlapping
gene in the genomes of Israeli
Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV)
and three other viruses. IAPV
infects honeybees and is associated with colony collapse disorder, a syndrome characterized by the mass disappearance of bees from hives. The discovery of a new gene may improve our understanding of this virus and its interaction with its host.