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Giant viruses with an expanded complement of translation system components

Schulz, Frederik and Yutin, Natalya and Ivanova, Natalia N. and Ortega, Davi R. and Lee, Tae Kwon and Vierheilig, Julia and Daims, Holger and Horn, Matthias and Wagner, Michael and Jensen, Grant J. and Kyrpides, Nikos C. and Koonin, Eugene V. and Woykeb, Tanja (2017) Giant viruses with an expanded complement of translation system components. Science, 356 (6333). pp. 82-85. ISSN 0036-8075. doi:10.1126/science.aal4657.

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The discovery of giant viruses blurred the sharp division between viruses and cellular life. Giant virus genomes encode proteins considered as signatures of cellular organisms, particularly translation system components, prompting hypotheses that these viruses derived from a fourth domain of cellular life. Here we report the discovery of a group of giant viruses (Klosneuviruses) in metagenomic data. Compared with other giant viruses, the Klosneuviruses encode an expanded translation machinery, including aminoacyl transfer RNA synthetases with specificities for all 20 amino acids. Notwithstanding the prevalence of translation system components, comprehensive phylogenomic analysis of these genes indicates that Klosneuviruses did not evolve from a cellular ancestor but rather are derived from a much smaller virus through extensive gain of host genes.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ItemSupporting Information
Ortega, Davi R.0000-0002-8344-2335
Jensen, Grant J.0000-0003-1556-4864
Additional Information:© 2017 American Association for the Advancement of Science. 23 November 2016; resubmitted 18 January 2017. Accepted 15 March 2017. The work conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (JGI), a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility, is supported under contract no. DE-AC02-05CH11231. N.Y. and E.V.K. were supported by intramural funds of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. M.W., H.D., and T.K.L. were supported by the European Research Council via the Advanced Grant project “NITRICARE 294343” and the Starting Grant “EVOCHLAMY” and by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) via project P27319-B21. This work was supported in part by the John Templeton Foundation. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation. K. Kitzinger, T. Nielsen, H. Na, P. Pjevac, F. Wascher, N. Ahlers, and J. Barrero Canosa are acknowledged for their support in various steps of the project. Klosneuvirus genome assemblies are deposited in GenBank (accession numbers KY684083 to KY684123), and metagenome read data can be accessed on the JGI data portal ( (accession numbers are in tables S1 to S3). Data from phylogenetic and evolutionary analyses are available online (
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-AC02-05CH11231
European Research Council (ERC)NITRICARE 294343
European Research Council (ERC)EVOCHLAMY
FWF Der WissenschaftsfondsP27319-B21
John Templeton FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Department of Health and Human ServicesUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:6333
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170410-065731786
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Giant viruses with an expanded complement of translation system components BY FREDERIK SCHULZ, NATALYA YUTIN, NATALIA N. IVANOVA, DAVI R. ORTEGA, TAE KWON LEE, JULIA VIERHEILIG, HOLGER DAIMS, MATTHIAS HORN, MICHAEL WAGNER, GRANT J. JENSEN, NIKOS C. KYRPIDES, EUGENE V. KOONIN, TANJA WOYKE Science 07 Apr 2017: Vol. 356, Issue 6333, pp. 82-85 DOI: 10.1126/science.aal4657
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:76462
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:10 Apr 2017 16:06
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 17:00

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