Giant viruses infecting algae

James L. Van Etten, Russel H. Meints

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

183 Scopus citations


Paramecium bursaria chlorella virus (PBCV-1) is the prototype of a family of large, icosahedral, plaque-forming, double-stranded-DNA-containing viruses that replicate in certain unicellular, eukaryotic chlorella-like green algae. DNA sequence analysis of its 330, 742-bp genome leads to the prediction that this phycodnavirus has 376 protein-encoding genes and 10 transfer RNA genes. The predicted gene products of ~40% of these genes resemble proteins of known function. The chlorella viruses have other features that distinguish them from most viruses, in addition to their large genome size. These features include the following: (a) The viruses encode multiple DNA methyltransferases and DNA site-specific endonucleases; (b) PBCV-1 encodes at least part, if not the entire machinery to glycosylate its proteins; (c) PBCV-1 has at least two types of introns-a self-splicing intron in a transcription factor-like gene and a splicesomal processed type of intron in its DNA polymerase gene. Unlike the chlorella viruses, large double-stranded-DNA-containing viruses that infect marine, filamentous brown algae have a circular genome and a lysogenic phase in their life cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)447-494
Number of pages48
JournalAnnual Review of Microbiology
StatePublished - 1999


  • Brown algal viruses
  • Chlorella viruses
  • DNA restriction/modification enzymes
  • Lysogeny
  • Virus-encoded glycosylation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Giant viruses infecting algae'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this