Archaean Viruses

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Science  02 Nov 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5544, pp. 959-961
DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5544.959e

Organisms that survive in what humans would consider harsh environments are of interest because they are unusual and because their biochemistry and molecular biology function under regimes of high temperature or acidity or both. Sulfolobus are aerobic archaea that live at 80°C and pH 3 and can be cultured in the laboratory. Rice et al. have sampled hot springs and mud pots in Yellowstone National Park and discovered viruses with previously unobserved morphologies. Three of their isolates corresponded in appearance to known Sulfolobus virus families from Japan and Iceland: spindles (60 × 90 nm) and rigid and flexible rods about 1 mm in length. New morphologies seen were nonenveloped icosahedral particles about 40 nm in diameter and spindle-shaped particles with projections at both ends, arranged in rosettes.—GJC

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 10.1073/pnas.231170198.

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