Broad spectrum of mimiviridae virophage allows its isolation using a mimivirus reporter.PLoS One. 2013; 8(4):e61912.Plos
The giant virus Mimiviridae family includes 3 groups of viruses: group A (includes Acanthamoeba polyphaga Mimivirus), group B (includes Moumouvirus) and group C (includes Megavirus chilensis). Virophages have been isolated with both group A Mimiviridae (the Mamavirus strain) and the related Cafeteria roenbergensis virus, and they have also been described by bioinformatic analysis of the Phycodnavirus. Here, we found that the first two strains of virophages isolated with group A Mimiviridae can multiply easily in groups B and C and play a role in gene transfer among these virus subgroups. To isolate new virophages and their Mimiviridae host in the environment, we used PCR to identify a sample with a virophage and a group C Mimiviridae that failed to grow on amoeba. Moreover, we showed that virophages reduce the pathogenic effect of Mimivirus (plaque formation), establishing its parasitic role on Mimivirus. We therefore developed a co-culture procedure using Acanthamoeba polyphaga and Mimivirus to recover the detected virophage and then sequenced the virophage's genome. We present this technique as a novel approach to isolating virophages. We demonstrated that the newly identified virophages replicate in the viral factories of all three groups of Mimiviridae, suggesting that the spectrum of virophages is not limited to their initial host.