Isolation and Characterization of Metallosphaera turreted icosahedral virus (MTIV), a founding member of a new family of archaeal viruses


Cassia Wagner, Vijay Reddy, Francisco Asturias, Maryam Khoshouei, John E Johnson, Pilar Manrique, Jacob Munson-McGee, Wolfgang Baumeister, C Martin Lawrence, Mark J Young


Journal of virology


Our understanding of archaeal virus diversity and structure is just beginning to emerge. Here we describe a new archaeal virus, tentatively named Metallosphaera turreted icosahedral virus (MTIV), that was isolated from an acidic hot spring in Yellowstone National Park, USA. Two strains of the virus were identified and found to replicate in an archaeal host species closely related to Metallosphaera yellowstonensis Each strain encodes for a 9.8-9.9 kb, linear dsDNA genome with large inverted terminal repeats. Each genome encodes for 21 ORFs. Between the strains the ORFs display high homology, but they are quite distinct from other known viral genes. The 70-nm diameter virion is built upon on a T=28 icosahedral lattice. Both single particle cryo-electron microscopy and cryo-tomography reconstructions reveal an unusual structure that has 42 turret-like projections: 12 from each of the 5-fold axes and 30 hexameric units positioned on icosahedral 2-fold axes. Both the virion structural properties and genome content support MTIV as the founding member of a new family of archaeal viruses.Importance: Many archaeal viruses are quite different than viruses infecting bacteria and eukaryotes. Initial characterization of MTIV reveals a virus distinct from other known bacterial, eukaryotic, and archaeal viruses; this finding suggests that viruses infecting Archaea are still an understudied group of viruses. As the first known virus infecting the Metallosphaera, MTIV provides a new system for exploring archaeal virology by examining host-virus interactions and the unique features of MTIV structure-function relationships. These studies will likely expand our understanding of virus ecology and evolution.



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