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Virology. 2007 Jul 20;364(1):237-43. Epub 2007 Apr 6.

Genome of the Acidianus bottle-shaped virus and insights into the replication and packaging mechanisms.

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  • 1Centre for Comparative Genomics, Department of Molecular Biology, Biocenter, Copenhagen University, Ole Maaløes vej 5, DK-2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark. <>


The Acidianus bottle-shaped virus, ABV, infects strains of the hyperthermophilic archaeal genus Acidianus and is morphologically distinct from all other known viruses. Its genome consists of linear double-stranded DNA, containing 23,814 bp with a G+C content of 35%, and it exhibits a 590-bp inverted terminal repeat. Of the 57 predicted ORFs, only three produced significant matches in public sequence databases with genes encoding a glycosyltransferase, a thymidylate kinase and a protein-primed DNA polymerase. Moreover, only one homologous gene is shared with other sequenced crenarchaeal viruses. The results confirm the unique nature of the ABV virus, and support its assignment to the newly proposed viral family the Ampullaviridae. Exceptionally, one region at the end of the linear genome of ABV is similar in both gene content and organization to corresponding regions in the genomes of the bacteriophage varphi29 and the human adenovirus. The region contains the genes for a putative protein-primed DNA polymerase, and a small putative RNA with a predicted secondary structure closely similar to that of the prohead RNA of bacteriophage varphi29. The apparent similarities in the putative mechanisms of DNA replication and packaging of ABV to those of bacterial and eukaryal viruses are most consistent with the concept of a primordial gene pool as a source of viral genes.

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