Deciphering the genomes of 16 Acanthamoeba species does not provide evidence of integration of known giant virus-associated mobile genetic elements.Virus Res. 2018 06 02; 251:14-16.VR
Giant viruses infect protozoa, especially amoebae of the genus Acanthamoeba. These viruses possess genetic elements named Mobilome. So far, this mobilome comprises provirophages which are integrated into the genome of their hosts, transpovirons, and Maverick/Polintons. Virophages replicate inside virus factories within Acanthamoeba and can decrease the infectivity of giant viruses. The virophage infecting CroV was found to be integrated in the host of CroV, Cafeteria roenbergensis, thus protecting C. roenbergensis by reduction of CroV multiplication. Because of this unique property, assessment of the mechanisms of replication of virophages and their relationship with giant viruses is a key element of this investigation. This work aimed at evaluating the presence and the dynamic of these mobile elements in sixteen Acanthamoeba genomes. No significant traces of the integration of genomes or sequences from known virophages were identified in all the available Acanthamoeba genomes. These results brought us to hypothesize that the interactions between mimiviruses and their virophages might occur through different mechanisms, or at low frequency. An additional explanation could be that our knowledge of the diversity of virophages is still very limited.