The Ancient Evolutionary History of Polyomaviruses

Christopher B. Buck, Koenraad Van Doorslaer, Alberto Peretti, Eileen M. Geoghegan, Michael J. Tisza, Ping An, Joshua P. Katz, James M. Pipas, Alison A. McBride, Alvin C. Camus, Alexa J. McDermott, Jennifer A. Dill, Eric Delwart, Terry F.F. Ng, Kata Farkas, Charlotte Austin, Simona Kraberger, William Davison, Diana V. Pastrana, Arvind Varsani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations


Polyomaviruses are a family of DNA tumor viruses that are known to infect mammals and birds. To investigate the deeper evolutionary history of the family, we used a combination of viral metagenomics, bioinformatics, and structural modeling approaches to identify and characterize polyomavirus sequences associated with fish and arthropods. Analyses drawing upon the divergent new sequences indicate that polyomaviruses have been gradually co-evolving with their animal hosts for at least half a billion years. Phylogenetic analyses of individual polyomavirus genes suggest that some modern polyomavirus species arose after ancient recombination events involving distantly related polyomavirus lineages. The improved evolutionary model provides a useful platform for developing a more accurate taxonomic classification system for the viral family Polyomaviridae.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1005574
JournalPLoS Pathogens
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Virology


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