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Res Microbiol. 2003 May;154(4):295-302.

Relationships between fuselloviruses infecting the extremely thermophilic archaeon Sulfolobus: SSV1 and SSV2.

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  • 1Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie, Am Klopferspitz 18A, 82152 Martinsried, Germany.


The fusellovirus SSV2 from an Icelandic Sulfolobus strain was isolated, characterized and its complete genomic sequence determined. SSV2 is very similar in morphology, replication, genome size and number of open reading frames (ORFs) to the type virus of the family, SSV1 from Japan, except in its high level of uninduced virus production. The nucleotide sequences are, however, only 55% identical to each other, much less than related bacteriophage, related animal viruses and the rudiviruses of Sulfolobus, SIRV1 and SIRV2. Nevertheless the genome architecture is very similar between the two viruses, indicating that despite this genomic dissimilarity the virus genomes are mostly homologous. Unlike SSV1, the sequence of SSV2 indicates integration into a glycyl tRNA gene and is completely missing a DNA packaging gene. There is a unique, perfectly tandemly directly repeated sequence of 62 nucleotides in SSV2 that has no similarity to known sequences or structures. By comparison to the SSV2 genome, an integrated partial fusellovirus genome was found in the Sulfolobus solfataricus P2 genome further confirming the dynamism of the Sulfolobus genome. Clustering of cysteine codon containing ORFs both in SSV1 and SSV2 indicates that these Fuselloviridae arose from a genome fusion event.

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