Research in the Archaeal Virology Unit focuses on addressing various fundamental questions at the interface of microbiology, virology and evolution: What molecular mechanisms allow viruses to subvert the host cells into virion-producing factories? What is the extent of viral diversity? What are the ultimate origins of different groups of viruses? How do these groups relate to each other as well as to other types of mobile genetic elements, such as plasmids and transposons? As a model for our research, we use viruses infecting archaea, which represent one of the least explored parts of the global virosphere. Archaea are hosts to viruses with some of the most unexpected virion morphologies, such as bottle-shaped, lemon-shaped, coil-shaped and droplet-shaped virions. The distinct nature of archaeal viruses also extends to their genomes, with the vast majority of the genes showing no similarity to sequences in the databases. We are exploring the extent of archaeal virus diversity in different habitats – from the human gut to hypersaline lakes and acidic hot springs – and study different aspects of their biology, including virion structure and assembly, molecular mechanisms of virus entry and egress as well as other aspects of virus-host interaction. During the past few years, we have isolated and characterized a number of new archaeal virus-host systems. This advancement provides us the opportunity to study not only virus-host interactions but also to explore different aspects of archaeal cell biology.
ANR-FunVesi: Functional characterization of archaeal extracellular vesicles
The FunVesi project is focused on functional characterization of membrane-bound extracellular vesicles (EVs) produced by hyperthermophilic and acidophilic archaea of the order Sulfolobales. The main objective of the project is to provide the understanding […]
Emergence(s) project MEMREMA: Membrane remodeling in Archaea
Archaea have unique membranes, radically different from those of bacteria and eukaryotes. Whereas in bacteria and eukaryotes, lipids consist of fatty acids linked to glycerol moieties via an ester bond, in archaeal lipids, isoprenoid […]
ANR-VIROMET-Uncovering the VIRome of archaeal METhanogens
Methanogenic archaea are phylogenetically diverse, ancient and environmentally widespread. They are common inhabitants of the gastrointestinal tract of humans and other animals, and produce methane, a potent green-house gas, as a metabolic by-product. Despite […]
ANR-ENVIRA: Membrane remodeling by enveloped viruses of Archaea
Membrane remodeling is a fundamental and necessary process underlying proper functioning of cellular organisms in all three domains of life. Much of our knowledge on the mechanisms of membrane fusion and scission, two of […]
2023Evolutionary diversification of methanotrophic ANME-1 archaea and their expansive virome, Nat Microbiol 2023 Jan; In press.
2023The global virome: How much diversity and how many independent origins?, Environ Microbiol 2023 Jan; 25(1): 40-44.
2022Diverse viruses of marine archaea discovered using metagenomics., Environ Microbiol 2022 Nov; (): .
2022A life LINE for large viruses, eLife 2022 Oct; 11:e83488.
2022Expansion of the global RNA virome reveals diverse clades of bacteriophages, Cell 2022 Oct; 185(21): 4023-4037.e18.
2022Viral origin of eukaryotic type IIA DNA topoisomerases, Virus Evolution 2022;8(2):veac097.
2022Diversity of novel archaeal viruses infecting methanogens discovered through coupling of stable isotope probing and metagenomics, Environ Microbiol 2022 Oct; 24(10): 4853-4868.
2022Convergent evolution in the supercoiling of prokaryotic flagellar filaments, Cell 2022 Sep; 185(19): 3487-3500.e14.
2022Varidnaviruses in the human gut: A major expansion of the order Vinavirales, Viruses 2022 Aug; 14(9): 1842.
2022The logic of virus evolution, Cell Host Microbe 2022; 30(7): 917-929.
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