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Virology. 2004 Jun 1;323(2):233-42.

Morphology and genome organization of the virus PSV of the hyperthermophilic archaeal genera Pyrobaculum and Thermoproteus: a novel virus family, the Globuloviridae.

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Department of Microbiology, Archaea Centre, University of Regensburg, D-93053 Regensburg, Germany.


A novel virus, termed Pyrobaculum spherical virus (PSV), is described that infects anaerobic hyperthermophilic archaea of the genera Pyrobaculum and Thermoproteus. Spherical enveloped virions, about 100 nm in diameter, contain a major multimeric 33-kDa protein and host-derived lipids. A viral envelope encases a superhelical nucleoprotein core containing linear double-stranded DNA. The PSV infection cycle does not cause lysis of host cells. The viral genome was sequenced and contains 28337 bp. The genome is unique for known archaeal viruses in that none of the genes, including that encoding the major structural protein, show any significant sequence matches to genes in public sequence databases. Exceptionally for an archaeal double-stranded DNA virus, almost all the recognizable genes are located on one DNA strand. The ends of the genome consist of 190-bp inverted repeats that contain multiple copies of short direct repeats. The two DNA strands are probably covalently linked at their termini. On the basis of the unusual morphological and genomic properties of this DNA virus, we propose to assign PSV to a new viral family, the Globuloviridae.

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