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Virologica Sinica, 22 (2) : 137-147, 2007
Review
Ascovirus and its Evolution
1. Department of Microbiology, 2. Department of Botany, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, 45056 USA
 Correspondence:
(180.48KB)  
Abstract
Ascoviruses, iridoviruses, asfarviruses and poxviruses are all cytoplasmic DNA viruses. The evolutionary origins of cytoplasmic DNA viruses have never been fully addressed. Morphological, genetic and molecular data were used to test if all four cytoplasmic virus families (Ascoviridae, Iridoviridae, Asfarviridae, and Poxvirirdae) evolved from nuclear replicating baculoviruses and how the four virus groups are related. Molecular phylogenetic analyses using DNA polymerase predicted that cytoplasmic DNA viruses might have evolved from nuclear replicating baculoviruses, and that poxviruses and asfarviruses share a common ancestor with iridoviruses. These three cytoplasmic viruses again shared a common ancestor with ascoviruses. Morphological and genetic data predicted the same evolutionary trend as molecular data predicted. A genome sequence comparison showed that ascoviruses have more baculovirus protein homologues than do iridoviruses, which suggested that ascoviruses have evolved from baculoviruses and iridoviruses evolved from ascoviruses. Poxviruses showed genetic and morphological similarity to other cytoplamic viruses, such as ascoviruses, suggesting it has undergone reticulate evolution via hybridization, recombination and lateral gene transfer with other viruses. Within the ascovirus family, we tested if molecular phylogenetic analyses agree with biological inference; that is, ascovirus had an evolutionary trend of increasing genome size, expanding host range and widening tissue tropism for these viruses. Both molecular and biological data predicted this evolutionary trend. The phylogenetic relationship among the four species of ascovirus was predicted to be that TnAV-2 and HvAV-3 shared a common ancestor with SfAV-1 and the three virus species again shared a common ancestor with DpAV-4.
  Published online: 20 Apr 2007
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