Family: Guttaviridae

Chapter Version: ICTV Ninth Report; 2009 Taxonomy Release

Since only one genus is currently recognized, the family description corresponds to the genus description.

Genus Guttavirus

Type species Sulfolobus newzealandicus droplet-shaped virus

Virion properties


Sulfolobus newzealandicus droplet-shaped virus (SNDV) virions are somewhat pleiomorphic, with a droplet shape 75–90×110–185 nm with a beard of dense filaments at the pointed end.

Physicochemical and physical properties

Virions are unstable in CsCl and lyse.

Nucleic acid

The genome is covalently-closed circular dsDNA about 20 kbp. The genome cannot be cut by many restriction endonucelases, but can be cut by the dam-methylation dependent restriction endonuclease DpnI, indicating that it is extensively methylated by a dam-like methylase.


By SDS-PAGE analysis, there is one major virion protein, 17.5 kDa, and two minor virion proteins of 13.5 and 13 kDa.


Not known.


Not known.

Genome organization and replication

Not known.

Antigenic properties

Not known.

Negative contrast electron microscopy of particles of Sulfolobus newzealandicus droplet-shaped virus (SNDV). The bar represents 100 nm.

(Courtesy of W. Zillig.)

Biological properties

SNDV exclusively infects Sulfolobus isolates from New Zealand, including the strain STH1/3. Virus production starts in the early stationary phase.

Species demarcation criteria in the genus

Not applicable.

List of species in the genus Guttavirus


Sulfolobus newzealandicus droplet-shaped virus

 Sulfolobus newzealandicus droplet-shaped virus-NZ


Species names are in italic script; names of isolates are in roman script. Sequence accession numbers [ ] and assigned abbreviations ( ) are also listed.

List of other related viruses which may be members of the genus Guttavirus but have not been approved as species

None reported.

List of unassigned species in the family Guttaviridae

None reported.

Phylogenetic relationships within the family

Not applicable.

Similarity with other taxa

Not known.

Derivation of name

Gutta: from Latin gutta, “droplet”.

Further reading

Arnold, H.P., Ziese, U. and Zillig, W. (2000). SNDV, a novel virus of the extremely thermophilic and acidophilic archaeon Sulfolobus. Virology, 272, 409-416.

Prangishvili, D., Stedman, K. and Zillig, W. (2001). Viruses of the extremely thermophilic archaeon Sulfolobus. Trends Microbiol., 9, 39-43.

Zillig, W., Arnold, H.P., Holz, I., Prangishvili, D., Schweier, A., Stedman, K., She, Q., Phan, H., Garrett, R. and Kristjansson, J.K. (1998). Genetic elements in the extremely thermophilic archaeon Sulfolobus. Extremophiles, 2, 131-140.

Zillig, W., Reiter, W.D., Palm, P., Gropp, F., Neumann, H. and Rettenberger, M. (1988). Viruses of archaebacteria. In: Calendar, R. (ed.), The Bacteriophages, Vol. 1. Plenum Press, New York, pp. 517-558.

Contributed by

In reproducing this chapter from the Eighth ICTV Report, the editors gratefully acknowledge the contribution of the author, Stedman, K.M.


Figure 1 Negative contrast electron microscopy of particles of Sulfolobus newzealandicus droplet-shaped virus (SNDV). The bar represents 100 nm.

(Courtesy of W. Zillig.)