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Marine Prasinoviruses and Their Tiny Plankton Hosts: A Review

Australian Institute of Marine Science, PMB 3, Townsville, Queensland 4810, Australia
Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, Plymouth PL1 3DH, UK
Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science, The Laboratory, Citadel Hill, Plymouth PL1 2PB, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Corina P.D. Brussaard and Mathias Middelboe
Viruses 2017, 9(3), 43;
Received: 31 January 2017 / Revised: 4 March 2017 / Accepted: 8 March 2017 / Published: 15 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Viruses 2016)
Viruses play a crucial role in the marine environment, promoting nutrient recycling and biogeochemical cycling and driving evolutionary processes. Tiny marine phytoplankton called prasinophytes are ubiquitous and significant contributors to global primary production and biomass. A number of viruses (known as prasinoviruses) that infect these important primary producers have been isolated and characterised over the past decade. Here we review the current body of knowledge about prasinoviruses and their interactions with their algal hosts. Several genes, including those encoding for glycosyltransferases, methyltransferases and amino acid synthesis enzymes, which have never been identified in viruses of eukaryotes previously, have been detected in prasinovirus genomes. The host organisms are also intriguing; most recently, an immunity chromosome used by a prasinophyte in response to viral infection was discovered. In light of such recent, novel discoveries, we discuss why the cellular simplicity of prasinophytes makes for appealing model host organism–virus systems to facilitate focused and detailed investigations into the dynamics of marine viruses and their intimate associations with host species. We encourage the adoption of the prasinophyte Ostreococcus and its associated viruses as a model host–virus system for examination of cellular and molecular processes in the marine environment. View Full-Text
Keywords: virus–host interactions; marine virus ecology; virus-driven evolution virus–host interactions; marine virus ecology; virus-driven evolution
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MDPI and ACS Style

Weynberg, K.D.; Allen, M.J.; Wilson, W.H. Marine Prasinoviruses and Their Tiny Plankton Hosts: A Review. Viruses 2017, 9, 43.

AMA Style

Weynberg KD, Allen MJ, Wilson WH. Marine Prasinoviruses and Their Tiny Plankton Hosts: A Review. Viruses. 2017; 9(3):43.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Weynberg, Karen D., Michael J. Allen, and William H. Wilson. 2017. "Marine Prasinoviruses and Their Tiny Plankton Hosts: A Review" Viruses 9, no. 3: 43.

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