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Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 Jul;40(12):5523-34. doi: 10.1093/nar/gks215. Epub 2012 Mar 6.

Related haloarchaeal pleomorphic viruses contain different genome types.

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Department of Biosciences and Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 56, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland.


Archaeal viruses have been the subject of recent interest due to the diversity discovered in their virion architectures. Recently, a new group of haloarchaeal pleomorphic viruses has been discovered. It is distinctive in terms of the virion morphology and different genome types (ssDNA/dsDNA) harboured by rather closely related representatives. To date there are seven isolated viruses belonging to this group. Most of these share a cluster of five conserved genes, two of which encode major structural proteins. Putative proviruses and proviral remnants containing homologues of the conserved gene cluster were also identified suggesting a long-standing relationship of these viruses with their hosts. Comparative genomic analysis revealed three different ways of the genome organization, which possibly reflect different replication strategies employed by these viruses. The dsDNA genomes of two of these viruses were shown to contain single-strand interruptions. Further studies on one of the genomes suggested that the interruptions are located along the genome in a sequence-specific manner and exhibit polarity in distribution.

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