Virology, Nebraska Center for


Date of this Version



2019 by the authors.


Viruses 2020, 12, 20; doi:10.3390/v12010020


Chloroviruses are large dsDNA, plaque-forming viruses that infect certain chlorella-like green algae; the algae are normally mutualistic endosymbionts of protists and metazoans and are often referred to as zoochlorellae. The viruses are ubiquitous in inland aqueous environments throughout the world and occasionally single types reach titers of thousands of plaque-forming units per ml of native water. The viruses are icosahedral in shape with a spike structure located at one of the vertices. They contain an internal membrane that is required for infectivity. The viral genomes are 290 to 370 kb in size, which encode up to 16 tRNAs and 330 to ~415 proteins, including many not previously seen in viruses. Examples include genes encoding DNA restriction and modification enzymes, hyaluronan and chitin biosynthetic enzymes, polyamine biosynthetic enzymes, ion channel and transport proteins, and enzymes involved in the glycan synthesis of the virus major capsid glycoproteins. The proteins encoded by many of these viruses are often the smallest or among the smallest proteins of their class. Consequently, some of the viral proteins are the subject of intensive biochemical and structural investigation.