The Bacteriophages

Part of the series The Viruses pp 517-558

Viruses of Archaebacteria

  • Wolfram ZilligAffiliated withMax-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
  • , Wolf-Dieter ReiterAffiliated withMax-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
  • , Peter PalmAffiliated withMax-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
  • , Felix GroppAffiliated withMax-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
  • , Horst NeumannAffiliated withMax-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
  • , Michael RettenbergerAffiliated withMax-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

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The archaebacteria constitute the third distinct urkingdom of life, beside eubacteria and eucytes (eukaryotic nucleus and cytoplasm) (Woese and Fox, 1977; Woese et al., 1978; Fox et al., 1980). They exhibit a characteristic mosaic of features, some of them—e.g., their lipids—unique to the group (for review see Langworthy, 1985); others—e.g., the organization of genes in operons (Konheiser et al., 1984; Hamilton and Reeve, 1985; Reeve et al., 1986; Reiter et al., 1987a) and the existence of ribosome-binding sites in mRNAs (Reiter et al., 1987a, and literature cited therein)—of eubacterial quality; and a third type—e.g., the ADP ribosylatability of their EFIIs by diphtheria toxin (Kessel and Klink, 1982)—of eukaryotic quality. Most interestingly, features of a fourth group—e.g., the structures of 5S rRNAs, initiator tRNAs, and DNA-dependent RNA polymerases and the occurrence of introns in tRNA genes—are highly divergent in different archaebacteria (Zillig et al., 1985a). Phylogenetically, the archaebacterial kingdom is deeply divided into three major branches (Woese and Olsen, 1986; Klenk et al., 1986): (1) the methanogens (Methanococcales, Methanobacteriales, and Methanomicrobiales) (for review see Whitman, 1985) plus extreme halophiles (Halobacteriales and Thermoplasmales) (for review see Kushner, 1985); (2) the sulfur-dependent extremely thermophilic Thermococcales (Woese and Olsen, 1986; Zillig et al., 1987); and (3) the sulfur-dependent, extremely thermophilic Thermoproteales plus Sulfolobales (for review see Stetter and Zillig, 1985) (Fig. 1).