Research Team

We have a broad interest in characterizing the ecological and evolutionary significance of eukaryotic viruses in the oceans with a special focus on large viruses. On our planet, there are viruses that are as complex as cellular organisms. The amoeba-infecting Mimivirus with a genome encoding 1000 genes is the prototype of such giant viruses. Recent studies from our group suggest that related giant viruses play crucial roles in oceanic ecosystems.

Through in silico data mining, we are studying the species and genomic diversity of giant viruses to discover new genes of fundamental interest, to investigate host-virus interactions and to get better insights into the role of viruses in the functioning and evolution of the biosphere. Together with other teams of the consortium, we develop new computational tools and statistical methods to enhance the analysis of the uniquely comprehensive Tara Oceans plankton data sets.

Relevant publications

  1. Clerissi C., Grimsley N., Ogata H., Hingamp P., Poulain J., Desdevises Y.
    Unveiling of the diversity of Prasinoviruses (Phycodnaviridae) in marine samples by using high-throughput sequencing analyses of PCR-amplified DNA polymerase and major capsid protein genes. Appl. Environ. Microbiol., 80, 3150-3160 (2014).
  2. Hingamp P., Grimsley N., Acinas S.G., Clerissi C., Subirana L., Poulain J., Ferrera I., Sarmento H., Villar E., Lima-Mendez G., Faust K., Sunagawa S., Claverie J.-M., Moreau H., Desdevises Y., Bork P., Raes J., de Vargas C., Karsenti E., Kandels-Lewis S., Jaillon O., Not F., Pesant S., Wincker P., Ogata H.
    Exploring nucleo-cytoplasmic large DNA viruses in Tara Oceans microbial metagenomes.
    ISME J., doi:10.1038/ismej.2013.59. (2013).
  3. Ogata H., Ray J., Toyoda K., Sandaa R.-A., Nagasaki K., Bratbak G., Claverie J.-M. Two new subfamilies of DNA mismatch repair proteins (MutS) specifically abundant in the marine environment. ISME J., 5, 1143-1151 (2011).
  4. Claverie J.-M., Ogata H. Ten good reasons not to exclude giruses from the evolutionary picture. Nat. Rev. Microbiol., 7, 615 (2009).
  5. Monier A., Pagarete A., de Vargas C., Allen M.J., Read B., Claverie J.-M., Ogata H. Horizontal gene transfer of an entire metabolic pathway between a eukaryotic alga and its DNA virus. Genome Res., 19, 1441-1449 (2009).
  6. Ogata H., Claverie J.-M. How to infect a Mimivirus. Science, 321, 1305-1306 (2008).
  7. Monier A., Claverie J.-M., Ogata H. Taxonomic distribution of large DNA viruses in the sea. Genome Biol., 9, R106 (2008)

The scientific activities of the Tara Oceans expedition, led by EMBL senior scientist Eric Karsenti, present an unprecedented effort that resulted in 35,000 samples containing millions of small organism collected in more than 210 ocean stations, chosen for their climatic significance or biodiversity.