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Special Issue "Giant Viruses"

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A special issue of Viruses (ISSN 1999-4915).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Jean-Michel Claverie

Professor of Medicine (PU1/PH)- Genomics and Bioinformatics, University of Mediterranee School of Medicine, 163 Avenue de Luminy Case 934, 13288 Marseille cedex 9, France
Website | E-Mail
Fax: +33 0491 82 54 21

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

"Giant virus" is a perfect oxymoron if we refer to the historical origin of the virus concept: a disease-causing agent capable of passing through a filter specifically designed by Chamberland to stop all microbes known at the time of Pasteur (in the mid nineteen century). To alleviate the confusion that such a combination of words might produce in the minds of the future generation of microbiologists, we either have to specify what we mean by "giant", specify how we define a "virus", and preferably, both. Such an exercise will be helpful in pointing out the insufficient clarity with which the virus concept has been manipulated until today and in designing new sampling protocols that will leave no corner of the viral world unexplored. In this issue, we will first recapitulate the short history of the giant viruses, and the turmoil their discovery raised among evolutionists, viral taxonomists, and even among the general public when trying to answer the fundamental question: "are viruses alive"? We will then describe in detail a typical representative of each of the major families of known "giant viruses", and explore the relationship between them, as well as their relationship with members of other families of more traditional large DNA virus": Poxviridae, various classes of Phycodnaviridae, Iridoviridae, Nimaviridae, etc.  We will then discuss the current hypotheses about their evolutionary origin (s), and the role they might have played in the emergence of the eukaryotes. We shall also examine the role these newly discovered giant viruses are playing in the environment, their potential pathogenicity for animals, and how their amazing complement of anonymous genes could be functionally characterized and harnessed into original biotechnological and biomedical applications.

Dr. Jean-Michel Claverie
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Viruses is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1500 CHF (Swiss Francs).


Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Clustering of Giant Virus-DNA Based on Variations in Local Entropy
Viruses 2014, 6(6), 2259-2267; doi:10.3390/v6062259
Received: 5 February 2014 / Revised: 19 May 2014 / Accepted: 21 May 2014 / Published: 30 May 2014
PDF Full-text (348 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We present a method for clustering genomic sequences based on variations in local entropy. We have analyzed the distributions of the block entropies of viruses and plant genomes. A distinct pattern for viruses and plant genomes is observed. These distributions, which describe the
[...] Read more.
We present a method for clustering genomic sequences based on variations in local entropy. We have analyzed the distributions of the block entropies of viruses and plant genomes. A distinct pattern for viruses and plant genomes is observed. These distributions, which describe the local entropic variability of the genomes, are used for clustering the genomes based on the Jensen-Shannon (JS) distances. The analysis of the JS distances between all genomes that infect the chlorella algae shows the host specificity of the viruses. We illustrate the efficacy of this entropy-based clustering technique by the segregation of plant and virus genomes into separate bins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Giant Viruses)
Figures

Open AccessArticle First Isolation of a Giant Virus from Wild Hirudo medicinalis Leech: Mimiviridae isolation in Hirudo medicinalis
Viruses 2013, 5(12), 2920-2930; doi:10.3390/v5122920
Received: 22 October 2013 / Revised: 21 November 2013 / Accepted: 22 November 2013 / Published: 27 November 2013
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (817 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Giant viruses and amoebae are common in freshwater, where they can coexist with other living multicellular organisms. We screened leeches from the species Hirudo medicinalis for giant viruses. We analyzed five H. medicinalis obtained from Tunisia (3) and France (2). The leeches were
[...] Read more.
Giant viruses and amoebae are common in freshwater, where they can coexist with other living multicellular organisms. We screened leeches from the species Hirudo medicinalis for giant viruses. We analyzed five H. medicinalis obtained from Tunisia (3) and France (2). The leeches were decontaminated and then dissected to remove internal parts for co-culture with Acanthamoeba polyphaga. The genomes of isolated viruses were sequenced on a 454 Roche instrument, and a comparative genomics analysis was performed. One Mimivirus was isolated and the strain was named Hirudovirus. The genome assembly generated two scaffolds, which were 1,155,382 and 25,660 base pairs in length. Functional annotations were identified for 47% of the genes, which corresponds to 466 proteins. The presence of Mimividae in the same ecological niche as wild Hirudo may explain the presence of the mimivirus in the digestive tract of the leech, and several studies have already shown that viruses can persist in the digestive tracts of leeches fed contaminated blood. As leeches can be used medically and Mimiviruses have the potential to be an infectious agent in humans, patients treated with leeches should be surveyed to investigate a possible connection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Giant Viruses)

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