Preprint Hypothesis Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Are Antarctic Nanohaloarchaeota Emerging Viral Lineages?

Version 1 : Received: 22 November 2019 / Approved: 26 November 2019 / Online: 26 November 2019 (04:43:45 CET)

How to cite: Bandea, C. Are Antarctic Nanohaloarchaeota Emerging Viral Lineages?. Preprints 2019, 2019110308. Bandea, C. Are Antarctic Nanohaloarchaeota Emerging Viral Lineages?. Preprints 2019, 2019110308.


A recent report in PNAS that Candidatus Nanohaloarchaeum antarcticus requires haloarchaeon Halorubrum lacusprofundi for growth expands the list of known symbiotic or parasitic associations between the members of DPANN archaea, which are relatively small cells with reduced genomes and limited metabolic capacity, and free-living archaea. In line with previous studies addressing the enigmatic mechanism(s) for the transfer of metabolites from Ignicoccus hospitalis to Nanoarchaeum equitans, this new study presents additional evidence supporting a direct cytoplasmic connection facilitated by the fusion of parasite’s membrane with that of its host. Here I show that this novel mechanism for accessing the host resources by a membrane fusing mechanism, which eliminates the need for sophisticated multivalent transport systems, is fundamentally similar to that employed by several viral lineages. These new findings support an evolutionary model on the origin of incipient viral lineages from parasitic cellular lineages that started their parasitic life cycle by fusing with their host cells.


origin and evolution of viruses; DPANN archaea; Nanoarchaeum equitans; giant viruses


Biology and Life Sciences, Virology

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