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DNA transposons have colonized the genome of the giant virus Pandoravirus salinus

Overview of attention for article published in BMC Biology, June 2015
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (95th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (81st percentile)

Mentioned by

2 news outlets
33 X users
3 Wikipedia pages
1 Q&A thread


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81 Mendeley
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DNA transposons have colonized the genome of the giant virus Pandoravirus salinus
Published in
BMC Biology, June 2015
DOI 10.1186/s12915-015-0145-1
Pubmed ID

Cheng Sun, Cédric Feschotte, Zhiqiang Wu, Rachel Lockridge Mueller


Transposable elements are mobile DNA sequences that are widely distributed in prokaryotic and eukaryotic genomes, where they represent a major force in genome evolution. However, transposable elements have rarely been documented in viruses, and their contribution to viral genome evolution remains largely unexplored. Pandoraviruses are recently described DNA viruses with genome sizes that exceed those of some prokaryotes, rivaling parasitic eukaryotes. These large genomes appear to include substantial noncoding intergenic spaces, which provide potential locations for transposable element insertions. However, no mobile genetic elements have yet been reported in pandoravirus genomes. Here, we report a family of miniature inverted-repeat transposable elements (MITEs) in the Pandoravirus salinus genome, representing the first description of a virus populated with a canonical transposable element family that proliferated by transposition within the viral genome. The MITE family, which we name Submariner, includes 30 copies with all the hallmarks of MITEs: short length, terminal inverted repeats, TA target site duplication, and no coding capacity. Submariner elements show signs of transposition and are undetectable in the genome of Pandoravirus dulcis, the closest known relative Pandoravirus salinus. We identified a DNA transposon related to Submariner in the genome of Acanthamoeba castellanii - a species thought to host pandoraviruses - that contains remnants of coding sequence for a Tc1/mariner transposase. These observations suggest that the Submariner MITEs of P. salinus (1) belong to the widespread Tc1/mariner superfamily, and (2) may have been mobilized by an amoebozoan host. Ten of the 30 MITEs in the P. salinus genome are located within coding regions of predicted genes, while others are close to genes, suggesting that these transposons may have contributed to viral genetic novelty. Our discovery highlights the remarkable ability of DNA transposons to colonize and shape genomes from all domains of life, as well as giant viruses. Our findings continue to blur the division between viral and cellular genomes, adhering to the emerging view that the content, dynamics, and evolution of the genomes of giant viruses do not substantially differ from those of cellular organisms.

X Demographics

X Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 33 X users who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.
Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 81 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United Kingdom 2 2%
Brazil 1 1%
France 1 1%
South Africa 1 1%
United States 1 1%
Unknown 75 93%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Researcher 18 22%
Student > Master 16 20%
Student > Ph. D. Student 14 17%
Student > Doctoral Student 8 10%
Student > Bachelor 5 6%
Other 7 9%
Unknown 13 16%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 37 46%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 20 25%
Immunology and Microbiology 3 4%
Medicine and Dentistry 2 2%
Mathematics 1 1%
Other 2 2%
Unknown 16 20%
Attention Score in Context

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 42. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 14 March 2023.
All research outputs
of 24,932,434 outputs
Outputs from BMC Biology
of 2,214 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 270,213 outputs
Outputs of similar age from BMC Biology
of 22 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 24,932,434 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 96th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 2,214 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 21.0. This one has done well, scoring higher than 89% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 270,213 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 95% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 22 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done well, scoring higher than 81% of its contemporaries.