I am what I eat and I eat what I am: acquisition of bacterial genes by giant viruses.Trends Genet. 2007 Jan; 23(1):10-5.TG
Giant viruses are nucleocytoplasmic large DNA viruses (NCLDVs) that infect algae (phycodnaviruses) and amoebae (Mimivirus). We report an unexpected abundance in these giant viruses of islands of bacterial-type genes, including apparently intact prokaryotic mobile genetic elements, and hypothesize that NCLDV genomes undergo successive accretions of bacterial genes. The viruses could acquire bacterial genes within their bacteria-feeding eukaryotic hosts, and we suggest that such acquisition is driven by the intimate coupling of recombination and replication in NCLDVs.