Icosahedral ssDNA Bacterial Viruses

Bentley A Fane, M. Chen, J. E. Cherwa, A. Uchiyama

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Isosahedral single-stranded DNA phages with a T = 1 capsid architecture form the family Microviridae. Family members fall into two distantly related groups, the microviruses (micro: Greek for small), which infect free-living bacteria, and the gokushoviruses (gokusho: Japanese for very small), which infect obligate intracellular parasitic bacteria and mollicutes. Due to its genetic tractability, ease of propagation, and small genome, the microvirus øX174 has been the focus of extensive research, being used to elucidate the mechanism of DNA replication and the first organism completely sequenced. In more recent years, it has become a model for structural and morphogenetic studies. The øX174 procapsid was the first such assembly intermediate to be solved at atomic resolution. With the discovery of the gokushoviruses and the solving of the øX174 virion and procapsid atomic structures, new avenues for molecular evolution studies have emerged. Since the discovery of the first microvirus in the 1920s, these phages have challenged scientific paradigms; single-strand DNA, no tails, genes within genes, parasites of parasites, and peculiar protein structures. It's all so beautiful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Virology
PublisherElsevier Ltd.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9780123744104
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008


  • Chlamydiaphage
  • Gokushovirus
  • Microviridae
  • Microvirus
  • Overlapping reading frame
  • Procapsid
  • Scaffolding protein
  • Single-stranded DNA
  • T=1
  • Viral morphogenesis
  • Virus assembly
  • øX174

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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