, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 444-456
Date: 06 Mar 2011

The genome of Oryctes rhinoceros nudivirus provides novel insight into the evolution of nuclear arthropod-specific large circular double-stranded DNA viruses

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The Oryctes rhinoceros nudivirus (OrNV) is a dsDNA virus with enveloped, rod-shaped virions. Its genome is 127,615 bp in size and contains 139 predicted protein-coding open reading frames (ORFs). In-depth genome sequence comparisons revealed a varying number of shared gene homologues, not only with other nudiviruses (NVs) and baculoviruses, but also with other arthropod-specific large dsDNA viruses, including the so-called Monodon baculovirus (MBV), the salivary gland hypertrophy viruses (SGHVs) and white spot syndrome virus (WSSV). Nudivirus genomes contain 20 baculovirus core gene homologues associated with transcription (p47, lef-8, lef-9, lef-4, vlf-1, and lef-5), replication (dnapol and helicase), virus structure (p74, pif-1, pif-2, pif-3, 19kda/pif-4, odv-e56/pif-5, vp91, vp39, and 38K), and unknown functions (ac68, ac81, and p33). Most strikingly, a set of homologous genes involved in peroral infection (p74, pif-1, pif-2, and pif-3) are common to baculoviruses, nudiviruses, SGHVs, and WSSV indicating an ancestral mode of infection in these highly diverged viruses. A gene similar to polyhedrin/granulin encoding the baculovirus occlusion body protein was identified in non-occluded NVs and in Musca domestica SGHV evoking the question of the evolutionary origin of the baculovirus polyhedrin/granulin gene. Based on gene homologies, we further propose that the shrimp MBV is an occluded member of the nudiviruses. We conclude that baculoviruses, NVs and the shrimp MBV, the SGHVs and WSSV share the significant number of conserved genetic functions, which may point to a common ancestry of these viruses.