July 7, 2019  |  

Pandoraviruses: amoeba viruses with genomes up to 2.5 Mb reaching that of parasitic eukaryotes.

Authors: Philippe, Nadège and Legendre, Matthieu and Doutre, Gabriel and Couté, Yohann and Poirot, Olivier and Lescot, Magali and Arslan, Defne and Seltzer, Virginie and Bertaux, Lionel and Bruley, Christophe and Garin, Jérome and Claverie, Jean-Michel and Abergel, Chantal

Ten years ago, the discovery of Mimivirus, a virus infecting Acanthamoeba, initiated a reappraisal of the upper limits of the viral world, both in terms of particle size (>0.7 micrometers) and genome complexity (>1000 genes), dimensions typical of parasitic bacteria. The diversity of these giant viruses (the Megaviridae) was assessed by sampling a variety of aquatic environments and their associated sediments worldwide. We report the isolation of two giant viruses, one off the coast of central Chile, the other from a freshwater pond near Melbourne (Australia), without morphological or genomic resemblance to any previously defined virus families. Their micrometer-sized ovoid particles contain DNA genomes of at least 2.5 and 1.9 megabases, respectively. These viruses are the first members of the proposed "Pandoravirus" genus, a term reflecting their lack of similarity with previously described microorganisms and the surprises expected from their future study.

Journal: Science
DOI: 10.1126/science.1239181
Year: 2013

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