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Sci China Life Sci. 2012 May;55(5):422-33. doi: 10.1007/s11427-012-4325-8. Epub 2012 May 27.

Archaeal viruses--novel, diverse and enigmatic.

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Archaea Centre, Department of Biology, Copenhagen University, Copenhagen N, Denmark.


Recent research has revealed a remarkable diversity of viruses in archaeal-rich environments where spindles, spheres, filaments and rods are common, together with other exceptional morphotypes never recorded previously. Moreover, their double-stranded DNA genomes carry very few genes exhibiting homology to those of bacterial and eukaryal viruses. Studies on viral life cycles are still at a preliminary stage but important insights are being gained especially from microarray analyses of viral transcripts for a few model virus-host systems. Recently, evidence has been presented for some exceptional archaeal-specific mechanisms for extra-cellular morphological development of virions and for their cellular extrusion. Here we summarise some of the recent developments in this rapidly developing and exciting research area.

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