Caister Academic Press

Choose Your Weapons: Origins and Evolution of Innate Host Defenses and Viral Counterstrategies

Welkin E. Johnson
from: Virus Evolution: Current Research and Future Directions (Edited by: Scott C. Weaver, Mark Denison, Marilyn Roossinck and Marco Vignuzzi). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2016) Pages: 101-126.


Viruses comprise the most abundant and genetically most diverse entities in the biosphere, and can be found in every environment and every niche occupied by cellular organisms. Viruses are common to all three domains of life, parasitizing the cells of eukaryotic, bacterial and archaeal hosts, and several lines of evidence suggest that viruses have been ever-present throughout the evolutionary history of modern, extant organisms. As a consequence of millions of years of virus-host coevolution, host organisms from all three domains have adapted by acquiring a variety of genes encoding dedicated antiviral effector mechanisms, and viruses, in turn, have evolved to encode an equally impressive array of accessory functions to counteract these defenses. Comparative approaches that draw on virus-host interactions from all three domains of life are beginning to reveal common macro-evolutionary processes by which these host and viral genes arise and evolve, and will hopefully lead to a fundamental understanding of how viruses influence host evolution (and vice versa) read more ...
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