"Megavirales", a proposed new order for eukaryotic nucleocytoplasmic large DNA viruses

Philippe Colson, Xavier De Lamballerie, Natalya Yutin, Sassan Asgari, Yves Bigot, Dennis K. Bideshi, Xiao Wen Cheng, Brian A. Federici, James L. Van Etten, Eugene V. Koonin, Bernard La Scola, Didier Raoult

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

168 Scopus citations

Abstract

The nucleocytoplasmic large DNA viruses (NCLDVs) comprise a monophyletic group of viruses that infect animals and diverse unicellular eukaryotes. The NCLDV group includes the families Poxviridae, Asfarviridae, Iridoviridae, Ascoviridae, Phycodnaviridae, Mimiviridae and the proposed family "Marseilleviridae". The family Mimiviridae includes the largest known viruses, with genomes in excess of one megabase, whereas the genome size in the other NCLDV families varies from 100 to 400 kilobase pairs. Most of the NCLDVs replicate in the cytoplasm of infected cells, within so-called virus factories. The NCLDVs share a common ancient origin, as demonstrated by evolutionary reconstructions that trace approximately 50 genes encoding key proteins involved in viral replication and virion formation to the last common ancestor of all these viruses. Taken together, these characteristics lead us to propose assigning an official taxonomic rank to the NCLDVs as the order "Megavirales", in reference to the large size of the virions and genomes of these viruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2517-2521
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Virology
Volume158
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology

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