Prokaryotic Virus Orthologous Groups (pVOGs): a resource for comparative genomics and protein family annotation

Nucleic Acids Res. 2017 Jan 4;45(D1):D491-D498. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkw975. Epub 2016 Oct 26.


Viruses are the most abundant and diverse biological entities on earth, and while most of this diversity remains completely unexplored, advances in genome sequencing have provided unprecedented glimpses into the virosphere. The Prokaryotic Virus Orthologous Groups (pVOGs, formerly called Phage Orthologous Groups, POGs) resource has aided in this task over the past decade by using automated methods to keep pace with the rapid increase in genomic data. The uses of pVOGs include functional annotation of viral proteins, identification of genes and viruses in uncharacterized DNA samples, phylogenetic analysis, large-scale comparative genomics projects, and more. The pVOGs database represents a comprehensive set of orthologous gene families shared across multiple complete genomes of viruses that infect bacterial or archaeal hosts (viruses of eukaryotes will be added at a future date). The pVOGs are constructed within the Clusters of Orthologous Groups (COGs) framework that is widely used for orthology identification in prokaryotes. Since the previous release of the POGs, the size has tripled to nearly 3000 genomes and 300 000 proteins, and the number of conserved orthologous groups doubled to 9518. User-friendly webpages are available, including multiple sequence alignments and HMM profiles for each VOG. These changes provide major improvements to the pVOGs database, at a time of rapid advances in virus genomics. The pVOGs database is hosted jointly at the University of Iowa at and the NCBI at

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Computational Biology / methods*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Genome, Viral*
  • Genomics / methods*
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation
  • Prokaryotic Cells / virology*
  • Viral Proteins / genetics*
  • Viruses / classification*
  • Viruses / genetics*


  • Viral Proteins