Chloroviruses have a sweet tooth

James L. Van Etten, Irina Agarkova, David D. Dunigan, Michela Tonetti, Cristina De Castro, Garry A. Duncan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Chloroviruses are large double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) viruses that infect certain isolates of chlorella-like green algae. They contain up to approximately 400 protein-encoding genes and 16 transfer RNA (tRNA) genes. This review summarizes the unexpected finding that many of the chlorovirus genes encode proteins involved in manipulating carbohydrates. These include enzymes involved in making extracellular polysaccharides, such as hyaluronan and chitin, enzymes that make nucleotide sugars, such as GDP-L-fucose and GDP-D-rhamnose and enzymes involved in the synthesis of glycans attached to the virus major capsid proteins. This latter process differs from that of all other glycoprotein containing viruses that traditionally use the host endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi machinery to synthesize and transfer the glycans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number88
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 22 2017


  • Chitin synthesis
  • Chloroviruses
  • Giant viruses
  • Glycan structures
  • Glycan synthesis
  • Glycoproteins
  • Hyaluronan synthesis
  • Nucleotide sugar synthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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