Cedratvirus, a Double-Cork Structured Giant Virus, is a Distant Relative of Pithoviruses.
ABSTRACT: Most viruses are known for the ability to cause symptomatic diseases in humans and other animals. The discovery of Acanthamoeba polyphaga mimivirus and other giant amoebal viruses revealed a considerable and previously unknown area of uncharacterized viral particles. Giant viruses have been isolated from various environmental samples collected from very distant geographic places, revealing a ubiquitous distribution. Their morphological and genomic features are fundamental elements for classifying them. Herein, we report the isolation and draft genome of Cedratvirus, a new amoebal giant virus isolated in Acanthamoeba castellanii, from an Algerian environmental sample. The viral particles are ovoid-shaped, resembling Pithovirus sibericum, but differing notably in the presence of two corks at each extremity of the virion. The draft genome of Cedratvirus-589,068 base pairs in length-is a close relative of the two previously described pithoviruses, sharing 104 and 113 genes with P. sibericum and Pithovirus massiliensis genomes, respectively. Interestingly, analysis of these viruses' core genome reveals that only 21% of Cedratvirus genes are involved in best reciprocal hits with the two pithoviruses. Phylogeny reconstructions and comparative genomics indicate that Cedratvirus is most closely related to pithoviruses, and questions their membership in an enlarged putative Pithoviridae family.
Project description:Acanthamoeba are ubiquitous phagocytes predominant in soil and water which can ingest many microbes. Giant viruses of amoebae are listed among the Acanthamoeba-resisting microorganisms. Their sympatric lifestyle within amoebae is suspected to promote lateral nucleotide sequence transfers. Some Acanthamoeba species have shown differences in their susceptibility to giant viruses. Until recently, only the genome of a single Acanthamoeba castellanii Neff was available. We analyzed the draft genome sequences of Acanthamoeba polyphaga through several approaches, including comparative genomics, phylogeny, and sequence networks, with the aim of detecting putative nucleotide sequence exchanges with giant viruses. We identified a putative sequence trafficking between this Acanthamoeba species and giant viruses, with 366 genes best matching with viral genes. Among viruses, Pandoraviruses provided the greatest number of best hits with 117 (32%) for A. polyphaga. Then, genes from mimiviruses, Mollivirus sibericum, marseilleviruses, and Pithovirus sibericum were best hits in 67 (18%), 35 (9%), 24 (7%), and 2 (0.5%) cases, respectively. Phylogenetic reconstructions showed in a few cases that the most parsimonious evolutionary scenarios were a transfer of gene sequences from giant viruses to A. polyphaga. Nevertheless, in most cases, phylogenies were inconclusive regarding the sense of the sequence flow. The number and nature of putative nucleotide sequence transfers between A. polyphaga, and A. castellanii ATCC 50370 on the one hand, and pandoraviruses, mimiviruses and marseilleviruses on the other hand were analyzed. The results showed a lower number of differences within the same giant viral family compared to between different giant virus families. The evolution of 10 scaffolds that were identified among the 14 Acanthamoeba sp. draft genome sequences and that harbored ? 3 genes best matching with viruses showed a conservation of these scaffolds and their 46 viral genes in A. polyphaga, A. castellanii ATCC 50370 and A. pearcei. In contrast, the number of conserved genes decreased for other Acanthamoeba species, and none of these 46 genes were present in three of them. Overall, this work opens up several potential avenues for future studies on the interactions between Acanthamoeba species and giant viruses.
Project description:Microbes trapped in permanently frozen paleosoils (permafrost) are the focus of increasing research in the context of global warming. Our previous investigations led to the discovery and reactivation of two Acanthamoeba-infecting giant viruses, Mollivirus sibericum and Pithovirus sibericum, from a 30,000-year old permafrost layer. While several modern pithovirus strains have since been isolated, no contemporary mollivirus relative was found. We now describe Mollivirus kamchatka, a close relative to M. sibericum, isolated from surface soil sampled on the bank of the Kronotsky River in Kamchatka, Russian Federation. This discovery confirms that molliviruses have not gone extinct and are at least present in a distant subarctic continental location. This modern isolate exhibits a nucleocytoplasmic replication cycle identical to that of M. sibericum Its spherical particle (0.6 ?m in diameter) encloses a 648-kb GC-rich double-stranded DNA genome coding for 480 proteins, of which 61% are unique to these two molliviruses. The 461 homologous proteins are highly conserved (92% identical residues, on average), despite the presumed stasis of M. sibericum for the last 30,000?years. Selection pressure analyses show that most of these proteins contribute to virus fitness. The comparison of these first two molliviruses clarify their evolutionary relationship with the pandoraviruses, supporting their provisional classification in a distinct family, the Molliviridae, pending the eventual discovery of intermediary missing links better demonstrating their common ancestry.IMPORTANCE Virology has long been viewed through the prism of human, cattle, or plant diseases, leading to a largely incomplete picture of the viral world. The serendipitous discovery of the first giant virus visible under a light microscope (i.e., >0.3??m in diameter), mimivirus, opened a new era of environmental virology, now incorporating protozoan-infecting viruses. Planet-wide isolation studies and metagenome analyses have shown the presence of giant viruses in most terrestrial and aquatic environments, including upper Pleistocene frozen soils. Those systematic surveys have led authors to propose several new distinct families, including the Mimiviridae, Marseilleviridae, Faustoviridae, Pandoraviridae, and Pithoviridae We now propose to introduce one additional family, the Molliviridae, following the description of M. kamchatka, the first modern relative of M. sibericum, previously isolated from 30,000-year-old arctic permafrost.
Project description:During the 12 past years, five new or putative virus families encompassing several members, namely Mimiviridae, Marseilleviridae, pandoraviruses, faustoviruses, and virophages were described. In addition, Pithovirus sibericum and Mollivirus sibericum represent type strains of putative new giant virus families. All these viruses were isolated using amoebal coculture methods. These giant viruses were linked by phylogenomic analyses to other large DNA viruses. They were then proposed to be classified in a new viral order, the Megavirales, on the basis of their common origin, as shown by a set of ancestral genes encoding key viral functions, a common virion architecture, and shared major biological features including replication inside cytoplasmic factories. Megavirales is increasingly demonstrated to stand in the tree of life aside Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukarya, and the megavirus ancestor is suspected to be as ancient as cellular ancestors. In addition, giant amoebal viruses are visible under a light microscope and display many phenotypic and genomic features not found in other viruses, while they share other characteristics with parasitic microbes. Moreover, these organisms appear to be common inhabitants of our biosphere, and mimiviruses and marseilleviruses were isolated from human samples and associated to diseases. In the present review, we describe the main features and recent findings on these giant amoebal viruses and virophages.
Project description:Pithovirus sibericum is a giant (610 Kpb) double-stranded DNA virus discovered in a purportedly 30,000-year-old permafrost sample. A closely related virus, Pithovirus massiliensis, was recently isolated from a sewer in southern France. An initial comparison of these two virus genomes assumed that P. sibericum was directly ancestral to P. massiliensis and gave a maximum evolutionary rate of 2.60 × 10-5 nucleotide substitutions per site per year (subs/site/year). If correct, this would make pithoviruses among the fastest-evolving DNA viruses, with rates close to those seen in some RNA viruses. To help determine whether this unusually high rate is accurate we utilized the well-known negative association between evolutionary rate and genome size in DNA microbes. This revealed that a more plausible rate estimate for Pithovirus evolution is ?2.23 × 10-6 subs/site/year, with even lower estimates obtained if evolutionary rates are assumed to be time-dependent. Hence, we estimate that Pithovirus has evolved at least an order of magnitude more slowly than previously suggested. We then used our new rate estimates to infer a time-scale for Pithovirus evolution. Strikingly, this suggests that these viruses could have diverged at least hundreds of thousands of years ago, and hence have evolved over longer time-scales than previously suggested. We propose that the evolutionary rate and time-scale of pithovirus evolution should be reconsidered in the light of these observations and that future estimates of the rate of giant virus evolution should be carefully examined in the context of their biological plausibility.
Project description:Virophages replicate within viral factories inside the Acanthamoeba cytoplasm, and decrease the infectivity and replication of their associated giant viruses. Culture isolation and metagenome analyses have suggested that they are common in our environment. By screening metagenomic databases in search of amoebal viruses, we detected virophage-related sequences among sequences generated from the same non-aerated bioreactor metagenome as recently screened by another team for virophage capsid-encoding genes. We describe here the assembled partial genome of a virophage closely related to Zamilon, which infects Acanthamoeba with mimiviruses of lineages B and C but not A. Searches for sequences related to amoebal giant viruses, other Megavirales representatives and virophages were conducted using BLAST against this bioreactor metagenome (PRJNA73603). Comparative genomic and phylogenetic analyses were performed using sequences from previously identified virophages. A total of 72 metagenome contigs generated from the bioreactor were identified as best matching with sequences from Megavirales representatives, mostly Pithovirus sibericum, pandoraviruses and amoebal mimiviruses from three lineages A-C, as well as from virophages. In addition, a partial genome from a Zamilon-like virophage, we named Zamilon 2, was assembled. This genome has a size of 6716 base pairs, corresponding to 39% of the Zamilon genome, and comprises partial or full-length homologs for 15 Zamilon predicted open reading frames (ORFs). Mean nucleotide and amino acid identities for these 15 Zamilon 2 ORFs with their Zamilon counterparts were 89% (range, 81-96%) and 91% (range, 78-99%), respectively. Notably, these ORFs included two encoding a capsid protein and a packaging ATPase. Comparative genomics and phylogenetic analyses indicated that the partial genome was that of a new Zamilon-like virophage. Further studies are needed to gain better knowledge of the tropism and prevalence of virophages in our biosphere and in humans.
Project description:Acanthamoeba species are infected by the largest known DNA viruses. These include icosahedral Mimiviruses, amphora-shaped Pandoraviruses, and Pithovirus sibericum, the latter one isolated from 30,000-y-old permafrost. Mollivirus sibericum, a fourth type of giant virus, was isolated from the same permafrost sample. Its approximately spherical virion (0.6-µm diameter) encloses a 651-kb GC-rich genome encoding 523 proteins of which 64% are ORFans; 16% have their closest homolog in Pandoraviruses and 10% in Acanthamoeba castellanii probably through horizontal gene transfer. The Mollivirus nucleocytoplasmic replication cycle was analyzed using a combination of "omic" approaches that revealed how the virus highjacks its host machinery to actively replicate. Surprisingly, the host's ribosomal proteins are packaged in the virion. Metagenomic analysis of the permafrost sample uncovered the presence of both viruses, yet in very low amount. The fact that two different viruses retain their infectivity in prehistorical permafrost layers should be of concern in a context of global warming. Giant viruses' diversity remains to be fully explored.
Project description:Giant viruses have been isolated and characterized in different environments, expanding our knowledge about the biology of these unique microorganisms. In the last 2 years, a new group was discovered, the cedratviruses, currently composed of only two isolates and members of a putative new family, "Pithoviridae," along with previously known pithoviruses. Here we report the isolation and biological and genomic characterization of two novel cedratviruses isolated from samples collected in France and Brazil. Both viruses were isolated using Acanthamoeba castellanii as a host cell and exhibit ovoid particles with corks at either extremity of the particle. Curiously, the Brazilian cedratvirus is ?20% smaller and presents a shorter genome of 460,038 bp, coding for fewer proteins than other cedratviruses. In addition, it has a completely asyntenic genome and presents a lower amino acid identity of orthologous genes (?73%). Pangenome analysis comprising the four cedratviruses revealed an increase in the pangenome concomitant with a decrease in the core genome with the addition of the two novel viruses. Finally, phylogenetic analyses clustered the Brazilian virus in a separate branch within the group of cedratviruses, while the French isolate is closer to the previously reported Cedratvirus lausannensis Taking all together, we propose the existence of a second lineage of this emerging viral genus and provide new insights into the biodiversity and ubiquity of these giant viruses.IMPORTANCE Various giant viruses have been described in recent years, revealing a unique part of the virosphere. A new group among the giant viruses has recently been described, the cedratviruses, which is currently composed of only two isolates. In this paper, we describe two novel cedratviruses isolated from French and Brazilian samples. Biological and genomic analyses showed viruses with different particle sizes, genome lengths, and architecture, revealing the existence of a second lineage of this new group of giant viruses. Our results provide new insights into the biodiversity of cedratviruses and highlight the importance of ongoing efforts to prospect for and characterize new giant viruses.
Project description:The Pithoviridae giant virus family exhibits the largest viral particle known so far, a prolate spheroid up to 2.5??m in length and 0.9??m in diameter. These particles show significant variations in size. Little is known about the structure of the intact virion due to technical limitations with conventional electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM) when imaging thick specimens. Here we present the intact structure of the giant Pithovirus sibericum particle at near native conditions using high-voltage electron cryo-tomography (cryo-ET) and energy-filtered cryo-EM. We detected a previously undescribed low-density outer layer covering the tegument and a periodical structuring of the fibres in the striated apical cork. Energy-filtered Zernike phase-contrast cryo-EM images show distinct substructures inside the particles, implicating an internal compartmentalisation. The density of the interior volume of Pithovirus particles is three quarters lower than that of the Mimivirus. However, it is remarkably high given that the 600 kbp Pithovirus genome is only half the size of the Mimivirus genome and is packaged in a volume up to 100 times larger. These observations suggest that the interior is densely packed with macromolecules in addition to the genomic nucleic acid.
Project description:The accidental discovery of the giant virus of amoeba - Acanthamoeba polyphaga mimivirus (APMV; more commonly known as mimivirus) - in 2003 changed the field of virology. Viruses were previously defined by their submicroscopic size, which probably prevented the search for giant viruses, which are visible by light microscopy. Extended studies of giant viruses of amoebae revealed that they have genetic, proteomic and structural complexities that were not thought to exist among viruses and that are comparable to those of bacteria, archaea and small eukaryotes. The giant virus particles contain mRNA and more than 100 proteins, they have gene repertoires that are broader than those of other viruses and, notably, some encode translation components. The infection cycles of giant viruses of amoebae involve virus entry by amoebal phagocytosis and replication in viral factories. In addition, mimiviruses are infected by virophages, defend against them through the mimivirus virophage resistance element (MIMIVIRE) system and have a unique mobilome. Overall, giant viruses of amoebae, including mimiviruses, marseilleviruses, pandoraviruses, pithoviruses, faustoviruses and molliviruses, challenge the definition and classification of viruses, and have increasingly been detected in humans.
Project description:The nucleocytoplasmic large DNA viruses (NCLDV) of eukaryotes (proposed order, "Megavirales") include the families Poxviridae, Asfarviridae, Iridoviridae, Ascoviridae, Phycodnaviridae, Marseilleviridae, and Mimiviridae, as well as still unclassified pithoviruses, pandoraviruses, molliviruses, and faustoviruses. Several of these virus groups include giant viruses, with genome and particle sizes exceeding those of many bacterial and archaeal cells. We explored the diversity of the NCLDV in deep sea sediments from the Loki's Castle hydrothermal vent area. Using metagenomics, we reconstructed 23 high-quality genomic bins of novel NCLDV, 15 of which are related to pithoviruses, 5 to marseilleviruses, 1 to iridoviruses, and 2 to klosneuviruses. Some of the identified pithovirus-like and marseillevirus-like genomes belong to deep branches in the phylogenetic tree of core NCLDV genes, substantially expanding the diversity and phylogenetic depth of the respective groups. The discovered viruses, including putative giant members of the family Marseilleviridae, have a broad range of apparent genome sizes, in agreement with the multiple, independent origins of gigantism in different branches of the NCLDV. Phylogenomic analysis reaffirms the monophyly of the pithovirus-iridovirus-marseillevirus branch of the NCLDV. Similarly to other giant viruses, the pithovirus-like viruses from Loki's Castle encode translation systems components. Phylogenetic analysis of these genes indicates a greater bacterial contribution than had been detected previously. Genome comparison suggests extensive gene exchange between members of the pithovirus-like viruses and Mimiviridae Further exploration of the genomic diversity of Megavirales in additional sediment samples is expected to yield new insights into the evolution of giant viruses and the composition of the ocean megavirome.IMPORTANCE Genomics and evolution of giant viruses are two of the most vigorously developing areas of virus research. Lately, metagenomics has become the main source of new virus genomes. Here we describe a metagenomic analysis of the genomes of large and giant viruses from deep sea sediments. The assembled new virus genomes substantially expand the known diversity of the nucleocytoplasmic large DNA viruses of eukaryotes. The results support the concept of independent evolution of giant viruses from smaller ancestors in different virus branches.