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Four newly isolated fuselloviruses from extreme geothermal environments reveal unusual morphologies and a possible interviral recombination mechanism.

Redder P., Peng X., Brugger K., Shah S.A., Roesch F., Greve B., She Q., Schleper C., Forterre P., Garrett R.A., Prangishvili D.

Spindle-shaped virus-like particles are abundant in extreme geothermal environments, from which five spindle-shaped viral species have been isolated to date. They infect members of the hyperthermophilic archaeal genus Sulfolobus, and constitute the Fuselloviridae, a family of double-stranded DNA viruses. Here we present four new members of this family, all from terrestrial acidic hot springs. Two of the new viruses exhibit a novel morphotype for their proposed attachment structures, and specific features of their genome sequences strongly suggest the identity of the host-attachment protein. All fuselloviral genomes are highly conserved at the nucleotide level, although the regions of conservation differ between virus-pairs, consistent with a high frequency of homologous recombination having occurred between them. We propose a fuselloviral specific mechanism for interviral recombination, and show that the spacers of the Sulfolobus CRISPR antiviral system are not biased to the highly similar regions of the fusellovirus genomes.

Environ. Microbiol. 11:2849-2862(2009) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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