Plant Pathology Department


Date of this Version



Published in Ulrich Lüttge, Wolfram Beyschlag, Burkhard Büdel, & Dennis Francis (eds.), Progress in Botany 71, pp. 169–184; doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-02167-1_7 Copyright © 2010 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Used by permission.


Chlorella viruses (or chloroviruses) are very large, plaque-forming viruses. The viruses are multilayered structures containing a large double-stranded DNA genome, a lipid bilayered membrane, and an outer icosahedral capsid shell. The viruses replicate in certain isolates of the coccal green alga, Chlorella. Sequence analysis of the 330-kbp genome of Paramecium bursaria Chlorella virus 1 (PBCV-1), the prototype of the virus family Phycodnaviridae, reveals <365 protein-encoding genes and 11 tRNA genes. Products of about 40% of these genes resemble proteins of known function, including many that are unexpected for a virus. Among these is a virus-encoded protein, called Kcv, which forms a functional K+ channel. This chapter focuses on the initial steps in virus infection and provides a plausible role for the function of the viral K+ channel in lowering the turgor pressure of the host. This step appears to be a prerequisite for delivery of the viral genome into the host.