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  1. Roux, Simon (Ed.)

    Iterons are short, repeated DNA sequences that are important for the replication of circular single-stranded DNA viruses. No tools that can reliably predict iterons are currently available. The CRUcivirus Iteron SEarch (CRUISE) tool is a computational tool that identifies iteron candidates near stem-loop structures in viral genomes.

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  2. Abstract

    Viruses are the most numerically abundant biological entities on Earth. As ubiquitous replicators of molecular information and agents of community change, viruses have potent effects on the life on Earth, and may play a critical role in human spaceflight, for life-detection missions to other planetary bodies and planetary protection. However, major knowledge gaps constrain our understanding of the Earth's virosphere: (1) the role viruses play in biogeochemical cycles, (2) the origin(s) of viruses and (3) the involvement of viruses in the evolution, distribution and persistence of life. As viruses are the only replicators that span all known types of nucleic acids, an expanded experimental and theoretical toolbox built for Earth's viruses will be pivotal for detecting and understanding life on Earth and beyond. Only by filling in these knowledge and technical gaps we will obtain an inclusive assessment of how to distinguish and detect life on other planetary surfaces. Meanwhile, space exploration requires life-support systems for the needs of humans, plants and their microbial inhabitants. Viral effects on microbes and plants are essential for Earth's biosphere and human health, but virus–host interactions in spaceflight are poorly understood. Viral relationships with their hosts respond to environmental changes in complex ways which are difficult to predict by extrapolating from Earth-based proxies. These relationships should be studied in space to fully understand how spaceflight will modulate viral impacts on human health and life-support systems, including microbiomes. In this review, we address key questions that must be examined to incorporate viruses into Earth system models, life-support systems and life detection. Tackling these questions will benefit our efforts to develop planetary protection protocols and further our understanding of viruses in astrobiology.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  3. Wang, Aiming (Ed.)

    It has been 49 years since the last discovery of a new virus family in the model yeastSaccharomyces cerevisiae. A large-scale screen to determine the diversity of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) viruses inS.cerevisiaehas identified multiple novel viruses from the familyPartitiviridaethat have been previously shown to infect plants, fungi, protozoans, and insects. MostS.cerevisiaepartitiviruses (ScPVs) are associated with strains of yeasts isolated from coffee and cacao beans. The presence of partitiviruses was confirmed by sequencing the viral dsRNAs and purifying and visualizing isometric, non-enveloped viral particles. ScPVs have a typical bipartite genome encoding an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP) and a coat protein (CP). Phylogenetic analysis of ScPVs identified three species of ScPV, which are most closely related to viruses of the genusCryspovirusfrom the mammalian pathogenic protozoanCryptosporidium parvum. Molecular modeling of the ScPV RdRP revealed a conserved tertiary structure and catalytic site organization when compared to the RdRPs of thePicornaviridae. The ScPV CP is the smallest so far identified in thePartitiviridaeand has structural homology with the CP of other partitiviruses but likely lacks a protrusion domain that is a conspicuous feature of other partitivirus particles. ScPVs were stably maintained during laboratory growth and were successfully transferred to haploid progeny after sporulation, which provides future opportunities to study partitivirus-host interactions using the powerful genetic tools available for the model organismS.cerevisiae.

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  4. Roux, Simon (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Nucleic acid secondary structures play important roles in regulating biological processes. StemLoop-Finder is a computational tool to recognize and annotate conserved structural motifs in large data sets. The program is optimized for the detection of stem-loop structures that may serve as origins of replication in circular replication-associated protein (Rep)-encoding single-stranded (CRESS) DNA viruses. 
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  5. ABSTRACT Presented are five genomes from the polyextremophilic (optimal temperature of >65°C and optimal pH of <3.5) archaeal family Sulfolobaceae , greatly expanding order-wide genomic diversity. Included are the only obligate anaerobic species, several facultative sulfur utilizers, two metal mobilizers, one facultative chemolithoautotroph with robust metabolic versatility, and some of the most thermophilic thermoacidophiles reported to date. 
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  6. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Microbiology Resource Announcements (MRA) provides peer-reviewed announcements of scientific resources for the microbial research community. We describe the best practices for writing an announcement that ensures that these publications are truly useful resources. Adhering to these best practices can lead to successful publication without the need for extensive revisions. 
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  7. Abstract

    In this article, we – the Bacterial Viruses Subcommittee and the Archaeal Viruses Subcommittee of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) – summarise the results of our activities for the period March 2020 – March 2021. We report the division of the former Bacterial and Archaeal Viruses Subcommittee in two separate Subcommittees, welcome new members, a new Subcommittee Chair and Vice Chair, and give an overview of the new taxa that were proposed in 2020, approved by the Executive Committee and ratified by vote in 2021. In particular, a new realm, three orders, 15 families, 31 subfamilies, 734 genera and 1845 species were newly created or redefined (moved/promoted).

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