Dr David Prangishvili


Group Leader, Institut Pasteur, Department of Microbiology


• Life in extreme environments
• Molecular biology of archaea
• Virus diversity and evolution
• Viruses of archaea

Research website:Dr David Prangishvili

FEMS Expert: Dr David Prangishvili

member of EAM

My current research interests concern exploration of the diversity of viruses on our planet, understanding their origin and evolution. The interest is due to the recent advances in environmental virology, demonstrating that viruses are the most abundant component of the biosphere, represent the greatest genetic resource and play a major role in cellular evolution. Specifically, we study viruses which are associated with the third domain of life – the Archaea, and thrive in geothermally heated areas of high volcanic activity with temperatures exceeding 80°C. From such environments, in the research groups headed by me at the University of Regensburg, Germany, and at Institut Pasteur, Paris, France, we have isolated and characterized over two dozen new species of DNA viruses which parasitize archaea. The discovered viruses are so diverse and unique in their morphologies and genomic properties that for their classification 7 novel virus families — Ampullaviridae, Bicaudaviridae, Clavaviridae, Globuloviridae, Rudiviridae, Spiraviridae, and Tristromaviridae, and a novel order Ligamenvirales (comprising families Lipothrixviridae and Rudiviridae) have been introduced (see figure). The results obtained in our research group change the field of prokaryotic virology, and lead to the notion that viruses of Archaea form a particular group in the viral world, distinct from the viruses of Bacteria and Eukarya, and complete the tripartite division of the biosphere. The results open new prospects for addressing basic questions on the evolutionary history of viruses and virus-host relationships.

Current Affiliations:

  • Institut Pasteur, Department of Microbiology

Past Affiliations:

  • University of Regensburg, Germany
  • Max-Planck-Institute for Biochemistry, Germany
  • Georgian National Academy of Sciences, Georgia