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Genes 2018, 9(3), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes9030131

The Unexplored Diversity of Pleolipoviruses: The Surprising Case of Two Viruses with Identical Major Structural Modules

1
Research Programme on Molecular and Integrative Biosciences, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Viikinkaari 9, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland
2
Finnish Meteorological Institute; Erik Palménin aukio 1, FI-00101 Helsinki, Finland
Current address: Faculty of Medicine, Haartmaninkatu 3, University of Helsinki, FI-00290 Finland.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 January 2018 / Revised: 16 February 2018 / Accepted: 20 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics of Extremophiles)
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Abstract

Extremely halophilic Archaea are the only known hosts for pleolipoviruses which are pleomorphic non-lytic viruses resembling cellular membrane vesicles. Recently, pleolipoviruses have been acknowledged by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) as the first virus family that contains related viruses with different DNA genomes. Genomic diversity of pleolipoviruses includes single-stranded and double-stranded DNA molecules and their combinations as linear or circular molecules. To date, only eight viruses belong to the family Pleolipoviridae. In order to obtain more information about the diversity of pleolipoviruses, further isolates are needed. Here we describe the characterization of a new halophilic virus isolate, Haloarcula hispanica pleomorphic virus 4 (HHPV4). All pleolipoviruses and related proviruses contain a conserved core of approximately five genes designating this virus family, but the sequence similarity among different isolates is low. We demonstrate that over half of HHPV4 genome is identical to the genome of pleomorphic virus HHPV3. The genomic regions encoding known virion components are identical between the two viruses, but HHPV4 includes unique genetic elements, e.g., a putative integrase gene. The co-evolution of these two viruses demonstrates the presence of high recombination frequency in halophilic microbiota and can provide new insights considering links between viruses, membrane vesicles, and plasmids. View Full-Text
Keywords: pleomorphic virus; pleolipovirus; Pleolipoviridae; haloarchaeal virus; hypersaline environment; genomic diversity pleomorphic virus; pleolipovirus; Pleolipoviridae; haloarchaeal virus; hypersaline environment; genomic diversity
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Atanasova, N.S.; Heiniö, C.H.; Demina, T.A.; Bamford, D.H.; Oksanen, H.M. The Unexplored Diversity of Pleolipoviruses: The Surprising Case of Two Viruses with Identical Major Structural Modules. Genes 2018, 9, 131.

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