Pandoraviruses: Amoeba Viruses with Genomes Up to 2.5 Mb Reaching That of Parasitic Eukaryotes

Abstract : 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
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Nadège Philippe, Matthieu Legendre, Gabriel Doutre, Yohann Couté, Olivier Poirot, et al.. Pandoraviruses: Amoeba Viruses with Genomes Up to 2.5 Mb Reaching That of Parasitic Eukaryotes. Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2013, 341 (6143), pp.281-286. ⟨10.1126/science.1239181⟩. ⟨cea-00862677⟩

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