Molecular characterization of pHRDV1, a new virus-like mobile genetic element closely related to pleomorphic viruses in haloarchaea
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A novel haloarchaeal plasmid, pHRDV1 (13,053 bp), was isolated from the haloarchaeal isolate Halorubrum sp. T3. Molecular and bioinformatics analyses showed that this element is a double-stranded circular DNA molecule containing two putative transcripts with opposite directions. The amino acid sequences of six of the nineteen predicted open reading frames were similar to those found in haloarchaeal pleomorphic viruses, such as Halorubrum pleomorphic virus 3 and Halogeometricum pleomorphic virus 1. There was also a strong conservation in gene order between the plasmid and these viruses. All three conserved viral proteins (VPs), which are characteristic of haloarchaeal pleomorphic viruses VP3, VP4 and VP8, were found in pHRDV1. Furthermore, a typical repressor-operator system similar to haloarchaeal myovirus φCh1, was found on the genome of pHRDV1. However, no viral particles were detected in the supernatants of Halorubrum sp. T3, either in the presence or absence of mitomycin C. These results imply that plasmid pHRDV1 is a distinctive virus-like mobile genetic element that harbors some unique properties that make it different from all of the known haloarchaeal plasmids or viruses.
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