Research Topic

Large DNA viruses – Research in this Opening Decade

About this Research Topic

The discovery of large and giant DNA viruses has brought new insights and novel perspectives to the field of Virology. Over the last few years, many giant viruses with various morphologies and genomic properties, such as susceptibility to infection by other small viruses (virophage), have been discovered and characterized; drastically changing our perception of the virosphere. In the last 20 years, we have learnt that viruses can be of extreme sizes, some even larger than 400 nm; such increases in particle volume size offers the possibility to contain genomes that are much longer than non-giant viruses, which could have a multitude of implications.

Recent analyses, notably using metagenomic methods (WGS), and progress in the binning reconstruction of genomes has allowed identification of novel roles played by giant viruses within their ecosystems. Discoveries in the field of viral energy metabolism, notably by observing the presence of tricarboxylic acid cycles, as well as advances in understanding viral defense systems and viral DNA translation systems are helping to elucidate the infection and replication mechanisms of giant viruses further, as well as helping shine new light on giant viruses’ roles in the wider ecosystem and environment.

In parallel, the isolation and structural analyses of giant viruses have helped to reshape and fill in our expanding knowledge of these notable entities. It has been observed recently that some ovoid viruses, such as Pandoravirus, Cedratviruses, Orpheovirus and Pithoviruses, have non-classical and highly divergent structures from both each other and from non-giant viruses. Similar trends have been observed for Tupanvirus, which shows a classic icosahedral virion and an extraordinary tail.

This Research Topic will serve as a platform for researchers to showcase their recent findings on giant viruses, particularly focusing on:

• Novel descriptions of Large and Giant viruses
• Metabolic pathways of Large and Giant viruses
• Defense systems of Large and Giant viruses
• Translation systems of Large and Giant viruses
• Ultrastructures & morphologies of Large and Giant viruses
• Infection & replication mechanisms of Large and Giant viruses
• Virophages interaction with Large and Giant viruses

This Research Topic will accept articles of the types: Original Research, Review, Perspective, Mini Review and Hypothesis and Theory.


Keywords: Large DNA viruses, Giant DNA viruses, New isolates, Metagenome analyses, Biological functions, Ultrastructure


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The discovery of large and giant DNA viruses has brought new insights and novel perspectives to the field of Virology. Over the last few years, many giant viruses with various morphologies and genomic properties, such as susceptibility to infection by other small viruses (virophage), have been discovered and characterized; drastically changing our perception of the virosphere. In the last 20 years, we have learnt that viruses can be of extreme sizes, some even larger than 400 nm; such increases in particle volume size offers the possibility to contain genomes that are much longer than non-giant viruses, which could have a multitude of implications.

Recent analyses, notably using metagenomic methods (WGS), and progress in the binning reconstruction of genomes has allowed identification of novel roles played by giant viruses within their ecosystems. Discoveries in the field of viral energy metabolism, notably by observing the presence of tricarboxylic acid cycles, as well as advances in understanding viral defense systems and viral DNA translation systems are helping to elucidate the infection and replication mechanisms of giant viruses further, as well as helping shine new light on giant viruses’ roles in the wider ecosystem and environment.

In parallel, the isolation and structural analyses of giant viruses have helped to reshape and fill in our expanding knowledge of these notable entities. It has been observed recently that some ovoid viruses, such as Pandoravirus, Cedratviruses, Orpheovirus and Pithoviruses, have non-classical and highly divergent structures from both each other and from non-giant viruses. Similar trends have been observed for Tupanvirus, which shows a classic icosahedral virion and an extraordinary tail.

This Research Topic will serve as a platform for researchers to showcase their recent findings on giant viruses, particularly focusing on:

• Novel descriptions of Large and Giant viruses
• Metabolic pathways of Large and Giant viruses
• Defense systems of Large and Giant viruses
• Translation systems of Large and Giant viruses
• Ultrastructures & morphologies of Large and Giant viruses
• Infection & replication mechanisms of Large and Giant viruses
• Virophages interaction with Large and Giant viruses

This Research Topic will accept articles of the types: Original Research, Review, Perspective, Mini Review and Hypothesis and Theory.


Keywords: Large DNA viruses, Giant DNA viruses, New isolates, Metagenome analyses, Biological functions, Ultrastructure


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

03 January 2021 Abstract
03 May 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

03 January 2021 Abstract
03 May 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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