Giant Viruses of Amoebae: A Journey Through Innovative Research and Paradigm Changes.Annu Rev Virol. 2017 09 29; 4(1):61-85.AR
Giant viruses of amoebae were discovered serendipitously in 2003; they are visible via optical microscopy, making them bona fide microbes. Their lifestyle, structure, and genomes break the mold of classical viruses. Giant viruses of amoebae are complex microorganisms. Their genomes harbor between 444 and 2,544 genes, including many that are unique to viruses, and encode translation components; their virions contain >100 proteins as well as mRNAs. Mimiviruses have a specific mobilome, including virophages, provirophages, and transpovirons, and can resist virophages through a system known as MIMIVIRE (mimivirus virophage resistance element). Giant viruses of amoebae bring upheaval to the definition of viruses and tend to separate the current virosphere into two categories: very simple viruses and viruses with complexity similar to that of other microbes. This new paradigm is propitious for enhanced detection and characterization of giant viruses of amoebae, and a particular focus on their role in humans is warranted.