How to Protect DNA Genomes: Lessons from Hyperthermophilic Viruses

David Prangishvili


Genetic research involving genomic DNA samples can easily be altered or corrupted by genomic DNA degradation. Once genomic DNA unfolds or breaks apart, the conclusions provided by any examination or assay may not be valid. Thus, proper storage is required to ensure high experimental standards. Prominent examples of efficient conservation of dsDNA molecule and keeping it stable for prolonged time intervals are provided by viruses which thrive in adverse conditions. We have studied arrangement of DNA genomes in diverse viruses isolated in our laboratory from extreme geothermal environments where temperatures exceed 80°C and are usually destructive for DNA [1,2]. In my talk I will summarizes the results of structural reconstruction of these viruses at near atomic resolution by cryo-electron tomography which provide insights into the details of DNA packaging and shade light on molecular mechanisms behind the high stability of viral DNA [3-8].



1. Prangishvili D. 2013. The wonderful world of archaeal viruses. Ann. Rev. Microbiol. 67: 565-585.

2. Prangishvili D, DH Bamford, P Forterre, J Iranzo, EV Koonin, M Krupovic. 2017. The enigmatic archaeal virosphere. Nature Rev. Microbiol. 15: 724–739.

3. DiMaio F, X Yu, E Rensen, M Krupovic, D Prangishvili#, EH Egelman#. 2015. A virus that infects a hyperthermophile encapsidates A-form DNA. Science 348: 914-917.

4. Ptchelkine D, S Gillum, T Mochizuki, S Lucas, Y Liu, M Krupovic, SEV Phillips, D Prangishvili#, JT Huiskonen#. 2017. Unique architecture of thermophilic archaeal virus APBV1. Nature Commun. 8: 1436.

5. Kasson P, F DiMaio, X Yu, S Lucas-Staat, M Krupovic, S Schouten, D Prangishvili#, EH Egelman#. 2017. An envelope of a filamentous virus carries lipids in a horseshoe conformation. Elife, 6: e26268.

6. Liu Y, T Osinski, F Wang, M Krupovic, S Schouten, P Kasson, D Prangishvili*, EH Egelman*. 2018. Structural conservation in a membrane-enveloped filamentous virus infecting a hyperthermophilic acidophile. Nature Commun. 9:3360.

7. Wang F, Y Liu, S Zhangli, T Osinski, GAP de Oliveira, JF Conway, S Schouten, M Krupovic, D Prangishvili #, EH Egelman #. 2019. A novel packing for A-form DNA in an icosahedral virus. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 116(45):22591-22597. 

8. Baquero DP, AD Gazi, M Sachse, J Liu, C Schmitt, M Nilges, S Schouten, D Prangishvili#, M Krupovic#. 2021 A filamentous archaeal virus is enveloped inside the cell and released through pyramidal portals. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 118(32):e2105540118.



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