Virus classification e
(unranked): Virus
Realm: incertae sedis
Kingdom: incertae sedis
Phylum: incertae sedis
Class: incertae sedis
Order: Ligamenvirales
Family: Lipothrixviridae

Lipothrixviridae is a family of viruses in the order Ligamenvirales. Thermophilic archaea in the kingdom Crenarchaeota serve as natural hosts. There are currently eleven species in this family, divided among 4 genera.[1][2][3][4][5]


Group: dsDNA

Order: Ligamenvirales


The family consists of four genera: Alphalipothrixvirus, Betalipothrixvirus, Gammalipothrixvirus and Deltalipothrixvirus.[6] They are classified into genera based on their genomic properties and on the diversity of their terminal appendages, which are involved in host cell recognition. The originally proposed genus Alphalipothrixvirus, including Thermoproteus tenax virus 1, has been renamed Alphatristromavirus and moved to family Tristromaviridae.[7][8] In 2020, the genus Alphalipothrixvirus was recreated for classification of Sulfolobus filamentous virus 1 [9] and Sulfolobales Beppu filamentous virus 2.[10]

In the genus Gammalipothrixvirus claw-like structures are found at either end of the virion.

Members of the Lipothrixviridae share structural and genomic characteristics with viruses from the Rudiviridae family, which contains non-enveloped rod-shaped viruses. Viruses from the two families have linear dsDNA genomes and share up to nine genes. In addition, the filamentous particles of rudiviruses and lipothrixviruses are built from structurally similar, homologous major capsid proteins. Due to these shared properties viruses from the two families are classified into an order Ligamenvirales.[11]

Members of the Ligamenvirales are structurally related to viruses of the family Tristromaviridae which, similar to lipothrixviruses, are enveloped and encode two paralogous major capsid proteins with the same fold as those of ligamenviruses.[12] Due to these structural similarities, order Ligamenvirales and family Tristromaviridae were proposed to be unified within a class 'Tokiviricetes' (toki means ‘thread’ in Georgian and viricetes is an official suffix for a virus class).[12]


The viruses are enveloped and filamentous. The capsid varies considerably in length – 410–1950 nanometers (nm) – and is 24–38 nm in diameter. The envelope has a monolayer structure and includes di-phytanyl tetraethers lipids.

From either end of the viron are protrusions extending from the core through the envelope. The capsid itself is elongated and exhibits helical symmetry. The core itself is helical.

There are two major capsid proteins (MCP1 and MCP2). MCP1 and MCP2 form a heterodimer, which wraps around the linear dsDNA genome transforming it into A-form. Interaction between the genome and the MCPs leads to condensation of the genome into the virion superhelix.[9][13][14] Genomes are linear, up to 40 kb in length.[1]

Genus Structure Symmetry Capsid Genomic arrangement Genomic segmentation
Alphalipothrixvirus Filamentous Helical Enveloped Linear Monopartite
Betalipothrixvirus Filamentous Helical Enveloped Linear Monopartite
Gammalipothrixvirus Filamentous Helical Enveloped Linear Monopartite
Deltalipothrixvirus Filamentous Helical Enveloped Linear Monopartite

Life cycle

Viral replication is cytoplasmic. Entry into the host cell is achieved by adsorption to the host cell. Acidianus filamentous virus 1 was found to bind to cellular pili-like appendages. DNA templated transcription is the method of transcription. Archaea serve as the natural host. Transmission routes are passive diffusion.[1]

Genus Host details Tissue tropism Entry details Release details Replication site Assembly site Transmission
Alphalipothrixvirus Archea: Saccharolobus None Injection Unknown Cytoplasm Cytoplasm Passive diffusion
Betalipothrixvirus Archea: Acidianus, Saccharolobus None Injection Unknown Cytoplasm Cytoplasm Passive diffusion
Gammalipothrixvirus Archea: Acidianus None Injection Unknown Cytoplasm Cytoplasm Passive diffusion
Deltalipothrixvirus Archea: Acidianus None Injection Unknown Cytoplasm Cytoplasm Passive diffusion


  1. ^ a b c "Viral Zone". ExPASy. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  2. ^ a b ICTV. "Virus Taxonomy: 2014 Release". Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  3. ^ Arnold, H.P., Zillig, W., Ziese, U., Holz, I., Crosby, M., Utterback, T., Weidmann, J.F., Kristjanson, J.K., Klenk, H.P., Nelson, K.E. and Fraser, C.M. (2000). A novel lipothrixvirus, SIFV, of the extremely thermophilic crenarchaeon Sulfolobus. Virology, 267, 252–266.
  4. ^ Janekovic, D., Wunderl S, Holz I, Zillig W, Gierl A, Neumann H (1983) TTV1, TTV2 and TTV3, a family of viruses of the extremely thermophilic anaerobic, sulphur reducing, archaeabacterium Thermoproteus tenax. Mol. Gen. Genet. 19239–19245
  5. ^ Bettstetter, M., Peng, X., Garrett, R.A. and Prangishvili, D. (2003). AFV-1, a novel virus infecting hyperthermophilic archaea of the genus Acidianus. Virology, 315, 68–79.
  6. ^ Häring M, Vestergaard G, Brügger K, Rachel R, Garrett RA, Prangishvili D (2005) Structure and genome organization of AFV2, a novel archaeal lipothrixvirus with unusual terminal and core structures. J Bacteriol 187(11): 3855–3858 doi:10.1128/JB.187.11.3855-3858.2005
  7. ^ Prangishvili, D; Rensen, E; Mochizuki, T; Krupovic, M; ICTV Report, Consortium (February 2019). "ICTV Virus Taxonomy Profile: Tristromaviridae". The Journal of General Virology. 100 (2): 135–136. doi:10.1099/jgv.0.001190. PMID 30540248.
  8. ^ "ICTV Report Tristromaviridae".
  9. ^ a b Liu, Y; Osinski, T; Wang, F; Krupovic, M; Schouten, S; Kasson, P; Prangishvili, D; Egelman, EH (2018). "Structural conservation in a membrane-enveloped filamentous virus infecting a hyperthermophilic acidophile". Nature Communications. 9 (1): 3360. Bibcode:2018NatCo...9.3360L. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-05684-6. PMC 6105669. PMID 30135568.
  10. ^ Liu, Y; Brandt, D; Ishino, S; Ishino, Y; Koonin, EV; Kalinowski, J; Krupovic, M; Prangishvili, D (2019). "New archaeal viruses discovered by metagenomic analysis of viral communities in enrichment cultures". Environmental Microbiology. 21 (6): 2002–2014. doi:10.1111/1462-2920.14479. PMID 30451355.
  11. ^ Prangishvili D, Krupovic M (2012). "A new proposed taxon for double-stranded DNA viruses, the order "Ligamenvirales"". Arch Virol. 157 (4): 791–795. doi:10.1007/s00705-012-1229-7. PMID 22270758.
  12. ^ a b Wang, Fengbin; Baquero, Diana P; Su, Zhangli; Osinski, Tomasz; Prangishvili, David; Egelman, Edward H; Krupovic, Mart (2020). "Structure of a filamentous virus uncovers familial ties within the archaeal virosphere". Virus Evolution. 6 (1): veaa023. doi:10.1093/ve/veaa023. PMC 7189273. PMID 32368353.
  13. ^ Kasson, P; DiMaio, F; Yu, X; Lucas-Staat, S; Krupovic, M; Schouten, S; Prangishvili, D; Egelman, EH (2017). "Model for a novel membrane envelope in a filamentous hyperthermophilic virus". eLife. 6: e26268. doi:10.7554/eLife.26268. PMC 5517147. PMID 28639939.
  14. ^ Wang, F; Baquero, DP; Beltran, LC; Su, Z; Osinski, T; Zheng, W; Prangishvili, D; Krupovic, M; Egelman, EH (2020). "Structures of filamentous viruses infecting hyperthermophilic archaea explain DNA stabilization in extreme environments". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 117 (33): 19643–19652. doi:10.1073/pnas.2011125117. PMID 32759221.