Five plaque-forming viruses (Pbi viruses) of the unicellular, eukaryotic, exsymbiotic Chlorella-like green alga strain Pbi were isolated from fresh water collected in Germany. The viruses were compared to two previously characterized plaque-forming viruses (NC64A viruses) of Chlorella strain NC64A. The Pbi viruses do not infect Chlorella NC64A and vice versa. Like the NC64A viruses the Pbi viruses are large polyhedrons with a diameter of 140 to 150 nm, are chloroform sensitive, have many structural proteins, and have large dsDNA genomes of at least 300 kb. However, the Pbi viruses are serologically distinct from the NC64A viruses. The five Pbi virus genomes contain 5-methylcytosine, which varied from 14.2 to 43.1% of the cytosine, and two of them also contained N6-methyladenine. DNAs from the Pbi viruses hybridized poorly with the two NC64A virus DNAs and they have a higher guanine plus cytosine content (ca. 46%) than the NC64A virus DNAs (ca. 40%).
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