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The Expanding Family of Virophages

by Meriem Bekliz 1, Philippe Colson 1,2,3,* and Bernard La Scola 1,2,3,*
Aix-Marseille University, URMITE UM 63 CNRS 7278 IRD 198 INSERM U1905, 27 Boulevard Jean Moulin, 13385 Marseille CEDEX 05, France
IHU Méditerranée Infection, Pôle des Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales Clinique et Biologique, Fédération de Bactériologie-Hygiène-Virologie, Centre Hospitalo-Universitaire Timone, Méditerranée Infection, 264 rue Saint-Pierre, 13385 Marseille CEDEX 05, France
Pôle des Maladies Infectieuses, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Marseille and Aix Marseille Universite, URMITE, UM63, CNRS 7278, IRD 198, INSERM 1095, Faculté de Médecine, 27 Boulevard Jean Moulin, 13385 Marseille CEDEX 05, France
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Eric O. Freed
Viruses 2016, 8(11), 317;
Received: 27 September 2016 / Revised: 15 November 2016 / Accepted: 15 November 2016 / Published: 23 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Protozoa)
Virophages replicate with giant viruses in the same eukaryotic cells. They are a major component of the specific mobilome of mimiviruses. Since their discovery in 2008, five other representatives have been isolated, 18 new genomes have been described, two of which being nearly completely sequenced, and they have been classified in a new viral family, Lavidaviridae. Virophages are small viruses with approximately 35–74 nm large icosahedral capsids and 17–29 kbp large double-stranded DNA genomes with 16–34 genes, among which a very small set is shared with giant viruses. Virophages have been isolated or detected in various locations and in a broad range of habitats worldwide, including the deep ocean and inland. Humans, therefore, could be commonly exposed to virophages, although currently limited evidence exists of their presence in humans based on serology and metagenomics. The distribution of virophages, the consequences of their infection and the interactions with their giant viral hosts within eukaryotic cells deserve further research. View Full-Text
Keywords: virophages; mimivirus; Megavirales; metagenomic; mobilome virophages; mimivirus; Megavirales; metagenomic; mobilome
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Bekliz, M.; Colson, P.; La Scola, B. The Expanding Family of Virophages. Viruses 2016, 8, 317.

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