Natural Viruses of Caenorhabditis Nematodes

Marie Anne Félix, David Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

3 Scopus citations


Caenorhabditis elegans has long been a laboratory model organism with no known natural pathogens. In the past ten years, however, natural viruses have been isolated from wild-caught C. elegans (Orsay virus) and its relative Caenorhabditis briggsae (Santeuil virus, Le Blanc virus, and Melnik virus). All are RNA positive-sense viruses related to Nodaviridae; they infect intestinal cells and are horizontally transmitted. The Orsay virus capsid structure has been determined and the virus can be reconstituted by transgenesis of the host. Recent use of the Orsay virus has enabled researchers to identify evolutionarily conserved proviral and antiviral genes that function in nematodes and mammals. These pathways include endocytosis through SID-3 and WASP; a uridylyltransferase that destabilizes viral RNAs by uridylation of their 3′ end; ubiquitin protein modifications and turnover; and the RNA interference pathway, which recognizes and degrades viral RNA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-326
Number of pages14
JournalAnnual Review of Genetics
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Orsay virus
  • RNA interference
  • WASP
  • ubiquitin
  • uridylyltransferase

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