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Virology. 2007 Jun 20;363(1):26-35. Epub 2007 Feb 15.

Shared and species-specific features among ichnovirus genomes.

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Department of Entomology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40503, USA.


During egg-laying, some endoparasitic wasps transmit a polydnavirus to their caterpillar host, causing physiological disturbances that benefit the wasp larva. Members of the two recognized polydnavirus taxa, ichnovirus (IV) and bracovirus (BV), have large, segmented, dsDNA genomes containing virulence genes expanded into families. A recent comparison of IV and BV genomes revealed taxon-specific features, but the IV database consisted primarily of the genome sequence of a single species, the Campoletis sonorensis IV (CsIV). Here we describe analyses of two additional IV genomes, the Hyposoter fugitivus IV (HfIV) and the Tranosema rostrale IV (TrIV), which we compare to the sequence previously reported for CsIV. The three IV genomes share several features including a low coding density, a strong A+T bias, similar estimated aggregate genome sizes ( approximately 250 kb) and the presence of nested genome segments. In addition, all three IV genomes contain members of six conserved gene families: repeat element, cysteine motif, viral innexin, viral ankyrin, N-family, and a newly defined putative family, the polar-residue-rich proteins. The three genomes, however, differ in their degree of segmentation, in within-family gene frequency and in the presence, in TrIV, of a unique gene family (TrV). These interspecific variations may reflect differences in parasite/host biology, including virus-induced pathologies in the latter.

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