Giant viruses, like pandoraviruses and mimiviruses, have been discovered from diverse environments, and their broad global distribution has been established. Here, we report two new isolates of Pandoravirus spp. and one Mimivirus sp., named Pandoravirus hades, Pandoravirus persephone, and Mimivirus sp. isolate styx, co-isolated from riverbank soil in Japan. We obtained nearly complete sequences of the family B DNA polymerase gene (polB) of P. hades and P. persephone; the former carried two known intein regions, while the latter had only one. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the two new pandoravirus isolates are closely related to Pandoravirus dulcis. Furthermore, random amplified polymorphic DNA analysis revealed that P. hades and P. persephone might harbor different genome structures. Based on phylogenetic analysis of the partial polB sequence, Mimivirus sp. isolate styx belongs to mimivirus lineage A. DNA staining suggested that the Pandoravirus spp. asynchronously replicates in amoeba cells while Mimivirus sp. replicates synchronously. We also observed that P. persephone- or Mimivirus sp. isolate styx-infected amoeba cytoplasm is extruded by the cells. To the best of our knowledge, we are the first to report the isolation of pandoraviruses in Asia. In addition, our results emphasize the importance of virus isolation from soil to reveal the ecology of giant viruses.
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