Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 30920125
Environ. Microbiol. 2019 Jun;21(6):2129-2147
The diversity of archaeal viruses is severely undersampled compared with that of viruses infecting bacteria and eukaryotes, limiting our understanding on their evolution and environmental impacts. Here, we describe the isolation and characterization of four new viruses infecting halophilic archaea from the saline Lake Retba, located close to Dakar on the coast of Senegal. Three of the viruses, HRPV10, HRPV11 and HRPV12, have enveloped pleomorphic virions and should belong to the family Pleolipoviridae, whereas the forth virus, HFTV1, has an icosahedral capsid and a long non-contractile tail, typical of bacterial and archaeal members of the order Caudovirales. Comparative genomic and phylogenomic analyses place HRPV10, HRPV11 and HRPV12 into the genus Betapleolipovirus, whereas HFTV1 appears to be most closely related to the unclassified Halorubrum virus HRTV-4. Differently from HRTV-4, HFTV1 encodes host-derived minichromosome maintenance helicase and PCNA homologues, which are likely to orchestrate its genome replication. HFTV1, the first archaeal virus isolated on a Haloferax strain, could also infect Halorubrum sp., albeit with an eightfold lower efficiency, whereas pleolipoviruses nearly exclusively infected autochthonous Halorubrum strains. Mapping of the metagenomic sequences from this environment to the genomes of isolated haloarchaeal viruses showed that these known viruses are underrepresented in the available viromes.