, Volume 203, Issue 3-4, pp 153-167

Virus assembly inHincksia hincksiae (Ectocarpales, Phaeophyceae) An electron and fluorescence microscopic study

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The filamentous brown algaHincksia hincksiae can be infected by a large icosahedral double-stranded DNA virus (HincV-1). The virus shows extended latency and is replicated only in cells homologous to sporangia. Virus formation was studied by transmission electron microscopy, DAPI staining, and β-tubulin immunofluorescence. Inhibition of cytokineses results in multinucleate cells, which are the first indication of virus replication in productive cells; the microtubular cytoskeleton does not seem to be affected by the virus. Replication of viral DNA begins in the nuclei, which increase in size and eventually disintegrate. Virus assembly takes place in a mixed nucleo-/cytoplasm. Capsids bud from cisternae, which are interpreted as modified endoplasmic reticulum aggregated to virus assembly centres. The internal membranous component of the virus is thus derived from the endoplasmic reticulum. The particles are empty (electron translucent) when assembled, and the nucleoprotein core seems to be packaged subsequently through an opening in the capsid. A number of fine structural features not previously reported from brown algae and related to virus formation are described. Our results on Hincksia hincksiae virus are compared with observations made on various other icosahedral DNA viruses infecting eukaryotic algae and animals.