Prion-like Domains in Eukaryotic Viruses

Scientific Reports (2018)

Prion-Like Domains in Eukaryotic Viruses
Publication Type  Journal article
 Authors George V. Tetz


Victor Tetz

 Abstract Prions are proteins that can self-propagate, leading to the misfolding of proteins. In addition to the previously demonstrated pathogenic roles of prions during the development of different mammalian diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases, they have recently been shown to represent an important functional component in many prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms and bacteriophages, confirming the previously unexplored important regulatory and functional roles. However, an in-depth analysis of these domains in eukaryotic viruses has not been performed. Here, we examined the presence of prion-like proteins in eukaryotic viruses that play a primary role in different ecosystems and that are associated with emerging diseases in humans. We identified relevant functional associations in different viral processes and regularities in their presence at different taxonomic levels. Using the prion-like amino-acid composition computational algorithm, we detected 2679 unique putative prion-like domains within 2,742,160 publicly available viral protein sequences. Our findings indicate that viral prion-like proteins can be found in different viruses of insects, plants, mammals, and humans. The analysis performed here demonstrated common patterns in the distribution of prion-like domains across viral orders and families, and revealed probable functional associations with different steps of viral replication and interaction with host cells. These data allow the identification of the viral prion-like proteins as potential novel regulators of viral infections.
Year of
 Journal Scientific Reports
 DOI 10.1038/s41598-018-27256-w