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Viruses 2011, 3(1), 32-46; doi:10.3390/v3010032
Commentary

Another Really, Really Big Virus

Received: 20 December 2010 / Revised: 13 January 2011 / Accepted: 14 January 2011 / Published: 18 January 2011
(This article belongs to the Section Editorial)
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Abstract

Viruses with genomes larger than 300 kb and up to 1.2 Mb, which encode hundreds of proteins, are being discovered and characterized with increasing frequency. Most, but not all, of these large viruses (often referred to as giruses) infect protists that live in aqueous environments. Bioinformatic analyses of metagenomes of aqueous samples indicate that large DNA viruses are quite common in nature and await discovery. One issue that is perhaps not appreciated by the virology community is that large viruses, even those classified in the same family, can differ significantly in morphology, lifestyle, and gene complement. This brief commentary, which will mention some of these unique properties, was stimulated by the characterization of the newest member of this club, virus CroV (Fischer, M.G.; Allen, M.J.; Wilson, W.H.; Suttle, C.A. Giant virus with a remarkable complement of genes infects marine zooplankton. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2010, 107, 19508-19513 [1]). CroV has a 730 kb genome (with ~544 protein-encoding genes) and infects the marine microzooplankton Cafeteria roenbergensis producing a lytic infection.
Keywords: giruses; NCLDV; huge viruses giruses; NCLDV; huge viruses
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Van Etten, J.L. Another Really, Really Big Virus. Viruses 2011, 3, 32-46.

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