Fish polyomaviruses belong to two distinct evolutionary lineages

J Gen Virol. 2018 Apr;99(4):567-573. doi: 10.1099/jgv.0.001041. Epub 2018 Mar 8.


The Polyomaviridae is a diverse family of circular double-stranded DNA viruses. Polyomaviruses have been isolated from a wide array of animal hosts. An understanding of the evolutionary and ecological dynamics of these viruses is essential to understanding the pathogenicity of polyomaviruses. Using a high throughput sequencing approach, we identified a novel polyomavirus in an emerald notothen (Trematomus bernacchii) sampled in the Ross sea (Antarctica), expanding the known number of fish-associated polyomaviruses. Our analysis suggests that polyomaviruses belong to three main evolutionary clades; the first clade is made up of all recognized terrestrial polyomaviruses. The fish-associated polyomaviruses are not monophyletic, and belong to two divergent evolutionary lineages. The fish viruses provide evidence that the evolution of the key viral large T protein involves gain and loss of distinct domains.

Keywords: Antarctica; Polyomaviridae; Trematomus bernacchii; emerald notothen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antarctic Regions
  • Antigens, Viral, Tumor / chemistry
  • Antigens, Viral, Tumor / genetics
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Fish Diseases / virology*
  • Perciformes / virology
  • Phylogeny
  • Polyomavirus / chemistry
  • Polyomavirus / classification*
  • Polyomavirus / genetics
  • Polyomavirus / isolation & purification*
  • Polyomavirus Infections / veterinary*
  • Polyomavirus Infections / virology
  • Protein Domains


  • Antigens, Viral, Tumor