Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

World's largest, most complex marine virus is major player in ocean ecosystems

Date:
October 31, 2010
Source:
University of British Columbia
Summary:
Researchers have identified the world's largest marine virus -- an unusually complex "mimi-like virus" that infects an ecologically important and widespread planktonic predator.

UBC researchers have identified the world's largest marine virus--an unusually complex 'mimi-like virus' that infects an ecologically important and widespread planktonic predator.

Cafeteria roenbergensis virus has a genome larger than those found in some cellular organisms, and boasts genetic complexity that blurs the distinction between "non-living" and "living" entities.

"Virus are classically thought of small, simple organisms in terms of the number of genes they carry," says UBC professor Curtis Suttle, an expert in marine microbiology and environmental virology and lead author of the study.

"Much of the genetic machinery we found in this virus you would only expect to find in living, cellular organisms, including many genes required to produce DNA, RNA, proteins and sugars."

The findings are reported in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Viruses cannot replicate outside of living host cells and they depend on proteins provided by the cell, a boundary that is often used to delineate "non-living" from "living" organisms. Giant viruses challenge this definition, as they still need a cell to replicate, but encode in their own genome most of the proteins required for replication.

Discovered in Texas coastal waters in the early 1990s, Curtis and his team where able to determine that the pathogen's genome contains approximately 730,000 base pairs. That makes Cafeteria roenbergensis virus the largest known marine virus, and the second largest known virus, after the fresh water-borne Acanthamoeba polyphaga mimivirus, which weighs in at 1.2 million base pairs.

Cafeteria roenbergensis virus also infects a major marine zooplankter which occupies a key position in marine food webs.

"Even though predation by these marine plankton grazers is a major pathway of carbon transfer and nutrient recycling in marine and freshwater systems, we know next to nothing about the role viruses play in this system," notes Curtis, cross appointed to the departments of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Botany, and Microbiology and Immunology.

"There's little doubt that this virus is just one representative from a major group of largely unknown but ecologically important marine giant viruses."

Also on the research team were UBC graduate student Matthias Fischer, Michael Allen of the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, United Kingdom, and William Wilson of the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, United States.

Funding for the research was provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Tula Foundation through the UBC Centre for Microbial Diversity and Evolution.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of British Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Matthias G. Fischer, Michael J. Allen, William H. Wilson, Curtis A. Suttle. Giant virus with a remarkable complement of genes infects marine zooplankton. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1007615107

Cite This Page:

University of British Columbia. "World's largest, most complex marine virus is major player in ocean ecosystems." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101025152251.htm>.
University of British Columbia. (2010, October 31). World's largest, most complex marine virus is major player in ocean ecosystems. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101025152251.htm
University of British Columbia. "World's largest, most complex marine virus is major player in ocean ecosystems." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101025152251.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Super Healthful Fruits and Vegetables: Which Are Best?

Super Healthful Fruits and Vegetables: Which Are Best?

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) We all know that it is important to eat our fruits and vegetables but do you know which ones are the best for you? Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Panda Might Have Faked Pregnancy To Get Special Treatment

Panda Might Have Faked Pregnancy To Get Special Treatment

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) A panda in China showed pregnancy symptoms that disappeared after two months of observation. One theory: Her pseudopregnancy was a ploy for perks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Firefighters Rescue Puppy Stuck in Tire

Raw: Firefighters Rescue Puppy Stuck in Tire

AP (Aug. 26, 2014) It took Houston firefighters more than an hour to free a puppy who got its head stuck in a tire. (Aug. 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) A study published in the journal "Neurology" interviewed more than 19,000 people and found 15 percent suffer from being "sleep drunk." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins