Archives of Virology

, Volume 158, Issue 12, pp 2517–2521 | Cite as

“Megavirales”, a proposed new order for eukaryotic nucleocytoplasmic large DNA viruses

  • Philippe Colson
  • Xavier De Lamballerie
  • Natalya Yutin
  • Sassan Asgari
  • Yves Bigot
  • Dennis K. Bideshi
  • Xiao-Wen Cheng
  • Brian A. Federici
  • James L. Van Etten
  • Eugene V. Koonin
  • Bernard La Scola
  • Didier RaoultEmail author
Original Article


The nucleocytoplasmic large DNA viruses (NCLDVs) comprise a monophyletic group of viruses that infect animals and diverse unicellular eukaryotes. The NCLDV group includes the families Poxviridae, Asfarviridae, Iridoviridae, Ascoviridae, Phycodnaviridae, Mimiviridae and the proposed family “Marseilleviridae”. The family Mimiviridae includes the largest known viruses, with genomes in excess of one megabase, whereas the genome size in the other NCLDV families varies from 100 to 400 kilobase pairs. Most of the NCLDVs replicate in the cytoplasm of infected cells, within so-called virus factories. The NCLDVs share a common ancient origin, as demonstrated by evolutionary reconstructions that trace approximately 50 genes encoding key proteins involved in viral replication and virion formation to the last common ancestor of all these viruses. Taken together, these characteristics lead us to propose assigning an official taxonomic rank to the NCLDVs as the order “Megavirales”, in reference to the large size of the virions and genomes of these viruses.


Major Capsid Protein Giant Virus Virion Morphogenesis Ancestral Virus Jelly Roll 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Natalya Yutin and Eugene V. Koonin are supported by intramural funds of the US Department of Health and Human Services (to the National Library of Medicine). James Van Etten is partially supported by NIH Grant P20 RR15635 from the COBRE Program of the National Center for Research Resources.

Conflict of interest

There are no potential conflicts of interest or financial disclosures for any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philippe Colson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xavier De Lamballerie
    • 2
    • 3
  • Natalya Yutin
    • 4
  • Sassan Asgari
    • 5
  • Yves Bigot
    • 6
  • Dennis K. Bideshi
    • 7
  • Xiao-Wen Cheng
    • 8
  • Brian A. Federici
    • 9
  • James L. Van Etten
    • 10
    • 11
  • Eugene V. Koonin
    • 4
  • Bernard La Scola
    • 1
    • 2
  • Didier Raoult
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Unité des Rickettsies, URMITE UMR CNRS 7278 IRD 198 INSERM U1095, Facultés de Médecine et de Pharmacie, IHU Méditerranée InfectionAix-Marseille UniversitéMarseille Cedex 05France
  2. 2.Pôle des Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales Clinique et Biologique, Fédération de Bactériologie-Hygiène-Virologie, IHU Méditerranée InfectionAssistance Publique, Hôpitaux de Marseille, Centre Hospitalo-Universitaire TimoneMarseille Cedex 05France
  3. 3.Unité des Virus Emergents, UMR190 Emergence des pathologies virales, Faculté de Médecine, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, EHSP French School of Public HealthAix-Marseille UniversitéMarseilleFrance
  4. 4.National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), National Library of MedicineNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  5. 5.School of Biological SciencesThe University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia
  6. 6.UMR INRA-CNRS 7247, PRCCentre INRA de NouzillyNouzillyFrance
  7. 7.Molecular and Developmental BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaRiversideUSA
  8. 8.Department of MicrobiologyMiami UniversityOxfordUSA
  9. 9.Department of EntomologyUniversity of CaliforniaRiversideUSA
  10. 10.Department of Plant PathologyUniversity of NebraskaLincolnUSA
  11. 11.Nebraska Center for VirologyUniversity of NebraskaLincolnUSA

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