The Complex Nature of Tupanviruses.Adv Virus Res. 2019; 103:135-166.AV
The discovery of giant viruses revealed a new level of complexity in the virosphere, raising important questions about the diversity, ecology, and evolution of these viruses. The family Mimiviridae was the first group of amoebal giant viruses to be discovered (by Bernard La Scola and Didier Raoult team), containing viruses with structural and genetic features that challenged many concepts of classic virology. The tupanviruses are among the newest members of this family and exhibit structural, biological, and genetic features never previously observed in other giant viruses. The complexity of these viruses has put us one step forward toward the comprehension of giant virus biology and evolution, but also has raised important questions that still need to be addressed. In this chapter, we tell the history behind the discovery of one of the most complex viruses isolated to date, highlighting the unique features exhibited by tupanviruses, and discuss how these giant viruses have contributed to redefining limits for the virosphere.