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Amoebae as Genitors and Reservoirs of Giant Viruses

Raoult D. · Boyer M.

Author affiliations

URMITE CNRS IRD UMR 6236, Faculté de Médecine, Unité des Rickettsies, Marseille, France

Corresponding Author

Didier Raoult

URMITE CNRS IRD UMR 6236, Faculté de Médecine

Unité des Rickettsies, 27 Bd Jean Moulin

FR–13385 Marseille (France)

Tel. +33 4 9132 4376, Fax +33 4 9138 7772, E-Mail didier.raoult@gmail.com

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Intervirology 2010;53:321–329

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Amoebae are unicellular phagocytes that feed on microorganisms in their environment. Some amoebae have the largest genome size currently known on earth. They phagocytose any inert particle larger than 0.5 µm. Phagocytic amoebae can harbor different bacteria, fungi and giant viruses within the same cell. There is evidence of lateral gene transfer between the amoeba and its microbiological hosts. There is also evidence of gene exchange between viruses and bacteria hosted in amoebae. Moreover, there is evidence of gene transfer between viruses, such as Mimivirus and the virophage. As a consequence, viruses and intracellular bacteria living in amoebae have a sympatric lifestyle and large chimeric genome repertoires. We conclude that phagocytic protists continuously generate new species with chimeric repertoires that may succeed later if adapted to the environmental conditions and selected in a specific niche.

© 2010 S. Karger AG, Basel

Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Paper

Published online: June 15, 2010
Issue release date: June 2010

Number of Print Pages: 9
Number of Figures: 8
Number of Tables: 0

ISSN: 0300-5526 (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0100 (Online)

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