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Polintons: a hotbed of eukaryotic virus, transposon and plasmid evolution

Nature Reviews Microbiology volume 13, pages 105115 (2015) | Download Citation

Abstract

Polintons (also known as Mavericks) are large DNA transposons that are widespread in the genomes of eukaryotes. We have recently shown that Polintons encode virus capsid proteins, which suggests that these transposons might form virions, at least under some conditions. In this Opinion article, we delineate the evolutionary relationships among bacterial tectiviruses, Polintons, adenoviruses, virophages, large and giant DNA viruses of eukaryotes of the proposed order 'Megavirales', and linear mitochondrial and cytoplasmic plasmids. We hypothesize that Polintons were the first group of eukaryotic double-stranded DNA viruses to evolve from bacteriophages and that they gave rise to most large DNA viruses of eukaryotes and various other selfish genetic elements.

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Acknowledgements

E.V.K. is supported by the intramural funds of the US Department of Health and Human Services (to the National Library of Medicine).

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Institut Pasteur, Unité Biologie Moléculaire du Gène chez les Extrêmophiles, Department of Microbiology, Paris 75015, France.

    • Mart Krupovic
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20894, USA.

    • Eugene V. Koonin

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Mart Krupovic or Eugene V. Koonin.

Supplementary information

PDF files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary information S1 (figure)

    Multiple sequence alignment of the putative penton proteins of polintoviruses with uncharacterized proteins of phycodnaviruses.

  2. 2.

    Supplementary information S2 (figure)

    Relationship between the ATPases of the Polintovirus 2 from Alligator mississippiensis (P2_AMi) and human adenovirus 4.

  3. 3.

    Supplementary information S3 (figure)

    Phylogenetic analysis of pPolBs from prokaryotic and eukaryotic mobile elements.

  4. 4.

    Supplementary information S4 (table)

    Key polinton proteins with homologs in Reticulomyxa filosa.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nrmicro3389