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      Giant virus with a remarkable complement of genes infects marine zooplankton

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      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

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          Abstract

          As major consumers of heterotrophic bacteria and phytoplankton, microzooplankton are a critical link in aquatic foodwebs. Here, we show that a major marine microflagellate grazer is infected by a giant virus, Cafeteria roenbergensis virus (CroV), which has the largest genome of any described marine virus (≈730 kb of double-stranded DNA). The central 618-kb coding part of this AT-rich genome contains 544 predicted protein-coding genes; putative early and late promoter motifs have been detected and assigned to 191 and 72 of them, respectively, and at least 274 genes were expressed during infection. The diverse coding potential of CroV includes predicted translation factors, DNA repair enzymes such as DNA mismatch repair protein MutS and two photolyases, multiple ubiquitin pathway components, four intein elements, and 22 tRNAs. Many genes including isoleucyl-tRNA synthetase, eIF-2γ, and an Elp3-like histone acetyltransferase are usually not found in viruses. We also discovered a 38-kb genomic region of putative bacterial origin, which encodes several predicted carbohydrate metabolizing enzymes, including an entire pathway for the biosynthesis of 3-deoxy-d-manno-octulosonate, a key component of the outer membrane in Gram-negative bacteria. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that CroV is a nucleocytoplasmic large DNA virus, with Acanthamoeba polyphaga mimivirus as its closest relative, although less than one-third of the genes of CroV have homologs in Mimivirus. CroV is a highly complex marine virus and the only virus studied in genetic detail that infects one of the major groups of predators in the oceans.

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          The 1.2-megabase genome sequence of Mimivirus.

          We recently reported the discovery and preliminary characterization of Mimivirus, the largest known virus, with a 400-nanometer particle size comparable to mycoplasma. Mimivirus is a double-stranded DNA virus growing in amoebae. We now present its 1,181,404-base pair genome sequence, consisting of 1262 putative open reading frames, 10% of which exhibit a similarity to proteins of known functions. In addition to exceptional genome size, Mimivirus exhibits many features that distinguish it from other nucleocytoplasmic large DNA viruses. The most unexpected is the presence of numerous genes encoding central protein-translation components, including four amino-acyl transfer RNA synthetases, peptide release factor 1, translation elongation factor EF-TU, and translation initiation factor 1. The genome also exhibits six tRNAs. Other notable features include the presence of both type I and type II topoisomerases, components of all DNA repair pathways, many polysaccharide synthesis enzymes, and one intein-containing gene. The size and complexity of the Mimivirus genome challenge the established frontier between viruses and parasitic cellular organisms. This new sequence data might help shed a new light on the origin of DNA viruses and their role in the early evolution of eukaryotes.
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            Evolutionary genomics of nucleo-cytoplasmic large DNA viruses.

            A previous comparative-genomic study of large nuclear and cytoplasmic DNA viruses (NCLDVs) of eukaryotes revealed the monophyletic origin of four viral families: poxviruses, asfarviruses, iridoviruses, and phycodnaviruses [Iyer, L.M., Aravind, L., Koonin, E.V., 2001. Common origin of four diverse families of large eukaryotic DNA viruses. J. Virol. 75 (23), 11720-11734]. Here we update this analysis by including the recently sequenced giant genome of the mimiviruses and several additional genomes of iridoviruses, phycodnaviruses, and poxviruses. The parsimonious reconstruction of the gene complement of the ancestral NCLDV shows that it was a complex virus with at least 41 genes that encoded the replication machinery, up to four RNA polymerase subunits, at least three transcription factors, capping and polyadenylation enzymes, the DNA packaging apparatus, and structural components of an icosahedral capsid and the viral membrane. The phylogeny of the NCLDVs is reconstructed by cladistic analysis of the viral gene complements, and it is shown that the two principal lineages of NCLDVs are comprised of poxviruses grouped with asfarviruses and iridoviruses grouped with phycodnaviruses-mimiviruses. The phycodna-mimivirus grouping was strongly supported by several derived shared characters, which seemed to rule out the previously suggested basal position of the mimivirus [Raoult, D., Audic, S., Robert, C., Abergel, C., Renesto, P., Ogata, H., La Scola, B., Suzan, M., Claverie, J.M. 2004. The 1.2-megabase genome sequence of Mimivirus. Science 306 (5700), 1344-1350]. These results indicate that the divergence of the major NCLDV families occurred at an early stage of evolution, prior to the divergence of the major eukaryotic lineages. It is shown that subsequent evolution of the NCLDV genomes involved lineage-specific expansion of paralogous gene families and acquisition of numerous genes via horizontal gene transfer from the eukaryotic hosts, other viruses, and bacteria (primarily, endosymbionts and parasites). Amongst the expansions, there are multiple families of predicted virus-specific signaling and regulatory domains. Most NCLDVs have also acquired large arrays of genes related to ubiquitin signaling, and the animal viruses in particular have independently evolved several defenses against apoptosis and immune response, including growth factors and potential inhibitors of cytokine signaling. The mimivirus displays an enormous array of genes of bacterial provenance, including a representative of a new class of predicted papain-like peptidases. It is further demonstrated that a significant number of genes found in NCLDVs also have homologs in bacteriophages, although a vertical relationship between the NCLDVs and a particular bacteriophage group could not be established. On the basis of these observations, two alternative scenarios for the origin of the NCLDVs and other groups of large DNA viruses of eukaryotes are considered. One of these scenarios posits an early assembly of an already large DNA virus precursor from which various large DNA viruses diverged through an ongoing process of displacement of the original genes by xenologous or non-orthologous genes from various sources. The second scenario posits convergent emergence, on multiple occasions, of large DNA viruses from small plasmid-like precursors through independent accretion of similar sets of genes due to strong selective pressures imposed by their life cycles and hosts.
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              Common origin of four diverse families of large eukaryotic DNA viruses.

              Comparative analysis of the protein sequences encoded in the genomes of three families of large DNA viruses that replicate, completely or partly, in the cytoplasm of eukaryotic cells (poxviruses, asfarviruses, and iridoviruses) and phycodnaviruses that replicate in the nucleus reveals 9 genes that are shared by all of these viruses and 22 more genes that are present in at least three of the four compared viral families. Although orthologous proteins from different viral families typically show weak sequence similarity, because of which some of them have not been identified previously, at least five of the conserved genes appear to be synapomorphies (shared derived characters) that unite these four viral families, to the exclusion of all other known viruses and cellular life forms. Cladistic analysis with the genes shared by at least two viral families as evolutionary characters supports the monophyly of poxviruses, asfarviruses, iridoviruses, and phycodnaviruses. The results of genome comparison allow a tentative reconstruction of the ancestral viral genome and suggest that the common ancestor of all of these viral families was a nucleocytoplasmic virus with an icosahedral capsid, which encoded complex systems for DNA replication and transcription, a redox protein involved in disulfide bond formation in virion membrane proteins, and probably inhibitors of apoptosis. The conservation of the disulfide-oxidoreductase, a major capsid protein, and two virion membrane proteins indicates that the odd-shaped virions of poxviruses have evolved from the more common icosahedral virion seen in asfarviruses, iridoviruses, and phycodnaviruses.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                0027-8424
                1091-6490
                November 09 2010
                November 09 2010
                October 25 2010
                November 09 2010
                : 107
                : 45
                : 19508-19513
                Article
                10.1073/pnas.1007615107
                2984142
                20974979
                e50d0a41-d77e-45b1-8867-522d3efd477c
                © 2010
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