Chlorella Viruses

Takashi Yamada, Hideki Onimatsu, James L. Van Etten

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

102 Scopus citations


Chlorella viruses or chloroviruses are large, icosahedral, plaque-forming, double-stranded-DNA-containing viruses that replicate in certain strains of the unicellular green alga Chlorella. DNA sequence analysis of the 330-kbp genome of Paramecium bursaria chlorella virus 1 (PBCV-1), the prototype of this virus family (Phycodnaviridae), predict ∼366 protein-encoding genes and 11 tRNA genes. The predicted gene products of ∼50% of these genes resemble proteins of known function, including many that are completely unexpected for a virus. In addition, the chlorella viruses have several features and encode many gene products that distinguish them from most viruses. These products include: (1) multiple DNA methyltransferases and DNA site-specific endonucleases, (2) the enzymes required to glycosylate their proteins and synthesize polysaccharides such as hyaluronan and chitin, (3) a virus-encoded K+ channel (called Kcv) located in the internal membrane of the virions, (4) a SET domain containing protein (referred to as vSET) that dimethylates Lys27 in histone 3, and (5) PBCV-1 has three types of introns; a self-splicing intron, a spliceosomal processed intron, and a small tRNA intron. Accumulating evidence indicates that the chlorella viruses have a very long evolutionary history. This review mainly deals with research on the virion structure, genome rearrangements, gene expression, cell wall degradation, polysaccharide synthesis, and evolution of PBCV-1 as well as other related viruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Virus Research
EditorsKarl Maramorosch, Aaron Shatkin
Number of pages44
StatePublished - 2006

Publication series

NameAdvances in Virus Research
ISSN (Print)0065-3527

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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