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© Tessa Quax, David Prangishvili, Gerard Pehau-Arnaudet, Jean-Marc Panaud
VAPs (virus-associated pyramids) formed by the Sulfolobus islandicus rod-shaped virus 2 (SIRV2) in cells of its hyperthermophilic archaeal host. Negative contrast electron micrography.
Publication : BMC evolutionary biology

Geminiviruses: a tale of a plasmid becoming a virus

Scientific Fields
Diseases
Organisms
Applications
Technique

Published in BMC evolutionary biology - 21 May 2009

Krupovic M, Ravantti JJ, Bamford DH

Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 19460138

BMC Evol. Biol. 2009;9:112

BACKGROUND: Geminiviruses (family Geminiviridae) are small single-stranded (ss) DNA viruses infecting plants. Their virion morphology is unique in the known viral world – two incomplete T = 1 icosahedra are joined together to form twinned particles. Geminiviruses utilize a rolling-circle mode to replicate their genomes. A limited sequence similarity between the three conserved motifs of the rolling-circle replication initiation proteins (RCR Reps) of geminiviruses and plasmids of Gram-positive bacteria allowed Koonin and Ilyina to propose that geminiviruses descend from bacterial replicons.

RESULTS: Phylogenetic and clustering analyses of various RCR Reps suggest that Rep proteins of geminiviruses share a most recent common ancestor with Reps encoded on plasmids of phytoplasmas, parasitic wall-less bacteria replicating both in plant and insect cells and therefore occupying a common ecological niche with geminiviruses. Capsid protein of Satellite tobacco necrosis virus was found to be the best template for homology-based structural modeling of the geminiviral capsid protein. Good stereochemical quality of the generated models indicates that the geminiviral capsid protein shares the same structural fold, the viral jelly-roll, with the vast majority of icosahedral plant-infecting ssRNA viruses.

CONCLUSION: We propose a plasmid-to-virus transition scenario, where a phytoplasmal plasmid acquired a capsid-coding gene from a plant RNA virus to give rise to the ancestor of geminiviruses.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19460138