Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'David and Goliath' viruses shed light on the origin of jumping genes

Date:
March 3, 2011
Source:
University of British Columbia
Summary:
Researchers have identified a small virus that attacks another virus more than 100 times its own size, rescuing the infected zooplankton from certain death. The discovery provides clues to the evolutionary origin of some jumping genes found in other organisms.

University of British Columbia researchers have identified a small virus that attacks another virus more than 100 times its own size, rescuing the infected zooplankton from certain death. The discovery provides clues to the evolutionary origin of some jumping genes found in other organisms.

Related Articles


The study, by UBC marine microbiologist Curtis Suttle and PhD student Matthias Fischer, is published online March 3 in Science Express. It describes the marine virus Mavirus and its interaction with marine zooplankton Cafeteria roenbergenesis and CroV, the world's largest marine virus.

"It's a microbial version of the David and Goliah story where, after infecting Cafeteria roenbergeneis, Mavirus protects it against infection by CroV, while ensuring its own survival," says Suttle.

Viruses rely on host cells to replicate; in the case of Mavirus, its host is another virus, making it only the second known virophage. It needs CroV to replicate, and in the process suppresses the propagation of CroV.

"What makes this interaction significant to evolutionary biology is that the closest genetic relatives to Mavirus are mobile genetic elements found in single-celled and higher organisms," says Suttle. "This implies that over evolutionary time, organisms have co-opted the DNA from ancient relatives of Mavirus into their own genomes, presumably so that they could acquire immunity against giant viruses like CroV.

Transposons, or jumping genes, are bits of DNA that can move or "transpose" themselves to new positions within an organism's genome. Researchers have suspected that a subset of transposons -- called Maverick transposons -- have a viral origin because of the nature of their DNA sequences.

Suttle and Fischer's latest work on Mavirus provides the first concrete evidence of this connection.

"Because they've sequestered the virophage DNA into their own genomes, organisms probably don't need to rely on being infected by a second virus to protect themselves," says Suttle.

Suttle and Fischer previously identified CroV as the world's largest marine virus, with a complex genome that has made it remarkably independent of its host cells.


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 and Curtis A. Suttle. A Virophage at the Origin of Large DNA Transposons. Science, March 3, 2011 DOI: 10.1126/science.1199412

Cite This Page:

University of British Columbia. "'David and Goliath' viruses shed light on the origin of jumping genes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110303163322.htm>.
University of British Columbia. (2011, March 3). 'David and Goliath' viruses shed light on the origin of jumping genes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110303163322.htm
University of British Columbia. "'David and Goliath' viruses shed light on the origin of jumping genes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110303163322.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) For the first time Monterey Bay Aquarium recorded a video of the elusive, creepy and rarely seen anglerfish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Around the World Take Flight

Birds Around the World Take Flight

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 22, 2014) An imperial eagle equipped with a camera spreads its wings over London. It's just one of the many birds making headlines in this week's "animal roundup". Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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