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RNA Biol. 2013 May;10(5):803-16. doi: 10.4161/rna.24045. Epub 2013 Mar 7.

Snapshot of haloarchaeal tailed virus genomes.

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Department of Biosciences and Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.


The complete genome sequences of archaeal tailed viruses are currently highly underrepresented in sequence databases. Here, we report the genomic sequences of 10 new tailed viruses infecting different haloarchaeal hosts. Among these, only two viral genomes are closely related to each other and to previously described haloviruses HF1 and HF2. The approximately 760 kb of new genomic sequences in total shows no matches to CRISPR/Cas spacer sequences in haloarchaeal host genomes. Despite their high divergence, we were able to identify virion structural and assembly genes as well as genes coding for DNA and RNA metabolic functions. Interestingly, we identified many genes and genomic features that are shared with tailed bacteriophages, consistent with the hypothesis that haloarchaeal and bacterial tailed viruses share common ancestry, and that a viral lineage containing archaeal viruses, bacteriophages and eukaryotic viruses predates the division of the three major domains of non-viral life. However, as in tailed viruses in general and in haloarchaeal tailed viruses in particular, there are still a considerable number of predicted genes of unknown function.


Archaea; bacteriophage; genome; haloarchaea; sequence; tailed virus; virus

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