Pithovirus sibericum

Molecular biology


Rod-shaped virion 500nm wide and 1100nm long. The internal membrane is surrounded by a sort of capsid 60nm wide made of 10nm-spaced parallel stripes. The apex appears sealed by a protruding cork 80nm thick and 160nm wide. Source:


Circular, dsDNA genome of about 610kb that encodes for approximately 467 ORFs.




  1. Virion binds to host cell with the protruding cork, and enters into host cell by phagocytosis
  2. Fusion of viral envelope with cellular membrane, inducing the release of viral DNA into host cytoplasm.
  3. Undocumented location of active genome: cytoplasm or nucleus?
  4. Synthesis of early proteins.
  5. Replication of genomic DNA.
  6. Late proteins synthesis, assembly of new virions in the cytoplasmic factories
  7. Cell lysis and virion release in the extracellular space.