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Genome Biology

, 9:R106

First Online: 03 July 2008Received: 15 February 2008Revised: 20 May 2008Accepted: 03 July 2008


BackgroundViruses are ubiquitous and the most abundant biological entities in marine environments. Metagenomics studies are increasingly revealing the huge genetic diversity of marine viruses. In this study, we used a new approach -phylogenetic mapping- to obtain a comprehensive picture of the taxonomic distribution of large DNA viruses represented in the Sorcerer II Global Ocean Sampling Expedition metagenomic data set.

ResultsUsing DNA polymerase genes as a taxonomic marker, we identified 811 homologous sequences of likely viral origin. As expected, most of these sequences corresponded to phages. Interestingly, the second largest viral group corresponded to that containing mimivirus and three related algal viruses. We also identified several DNA polymerase homologs closely related to Asfarviridae, a viral family poorly represented among isolated viruses and, until now, limited to terrestrial animal hosts. Finally, our approach allowed the identification of a new combination of genes in -viral-like- sequences.

ConclusionAlbeit only recently discovered, giant viruses of the Mimiviridae family appear to constitute a diverse, quantitatively important and ubiquitous component of the population of large eukaryotic DNA viruses in the sea.

AbbreviationsASFVAfrican swine fever virus

CeVChrysochromulina ericina virus

EhV86Emiliania huxleyi virus 86

GOSGlobal Ocean Sampling

HaVHeterosigma akashiwo virus 1

MSAmultiple sequence alignment

NCLDVnucleocytoplasmic large DNA virus

NRDBNCBI non-redundant amino-acid sequence database

ORFopen reading frame

PolBB-family DNA polymerase

PoVPyramimonas orientalis virus

PpVPhaeocystis pouchetii virus

RELLresampling of estimated log likelihoods.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-gb-2008-9-7-r106 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Adam Monier - Jean-Michel Claverie - Hiroyuki Ogata


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