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Viruses 2017, 9(3), 52; doi:10.3390/v9030052

Coccolithoviruses: A Review of Cross-Kingdom Genomic Thievery and Metabolic Thuggery

1
Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, The Hoe, Plymouth PL1 3DH, UK
2
Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA
3
Department of Biology, University of Bergen, Bergen, 7803, Norway
4
Nebraska Center for Virology, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Mathias Middelboe and Corina Brussaard
Received: 18 January 2017 / Revised: 13 March 2017 / Accepted: 14 March 2017 / Published: 18 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Viruses 2016)
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Abstract

Coccolithoviruses (Phycodnaviridae) infect and lyse the most ubiquitous and successful coccolithophorid in modern oceans, Emiliania huxleyi. So far, the genomes of 13 of these giant lytic viruses (i.e., Emiliania huxleyi viruses—EhVs) have been sequenced, assembled, and annotated. Here, we performed an in-depth comparison of their genomes to try and contextualize the ecological and evolutionary traits of these viruses. The genomes of these EhVs have from 444 to 548 coding sequences (CDSs). Presence/absence analysis of CDSs identified putative genes with particular ecological significance, namely sialidase, phosphate permease, and sphingolipid biosynthesis. The viruses clustered into distinct clades, based on their DNA polymerase gene as well as full genome comparisons. We discuss the use of such clustering and suggest that a gene-by-gene investigation approach may be more useful when the goal is to reveal differences related to functionally important genes. A multi domain “Best BLAST hit” analysis revealed that 84% of the EhV genes have closer similarities to the domain Eukarya. However, 16% of the EhV CDSs were very similar to bacterial genes, contributing to the idea that a significant portion of the gene flow in the planktonic world inter-crosses the domains of life. View Full-Text
Keywords: E. huxleyi; coccolithovirus; genome comparison; horizontal gene transfer; domains of life E. huxleyi; coccolithovirus; genome comparison; horizontal gene transfer; domains of life
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MDPI and ACS Style

Nissimov, J.I.; Pagarete, A.; Ma, F.; Cody, S.; Dunigan, D.D.; Kimmance, S.A.; Allen, M.J. Coccolithoviruses: A Review of Cross-Kingdom Genomic Thievery and Metabolic Thuggery. Viruses 2017, 9, 52.

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