The virus may also infect humans and affect the brain.
It’s relatively uncommon for viruses to infect organisms from different kingdoms of life. But now, scientists have determined that a particular virus known to infect green algae can also infect mouse macrophages, a type of immune cell. University of Nebraska-Lincoln researcher David Dunigan says that it’s the only known virus to be able to infect algal and mammalian cells.
In a study published this month in the Journal of Virology, Dunigan and his colleagues found that the virus, ATCV-1, was capable of entering and infecting mouse macrophages, and increasing in mass, suggesting that it was making copies of itself. Following introduction of the virus, the scientists witnessed other cellular changes consistent with infection including cell death, Dunigan says.
Ed Rybicki's insight:
Apparently Vincent Racaniello says "...finding a virus that can infect organisms in different kingdoms is quite unusual and not something you see every day, though it’s not unheard of.”
I think it is seriously unheard of: apart from reports implicating amoebae-infecting mimiviruses in pneumonia, which is not as great a phylogenetic divide as green algae and humans, I can't think of anything infecting organisms that are so diverse, UNLESS one of them preys on the other.
Like insects and plants, for example: there are insect- and plant-infecting rhabdoviruses and reoviruses and bunyaviruses. However, these viruses infect insects and plants that have been bound up in a predator-prey relationship for many millions of years, and which have consequently shared their nanobiota.
This does NOT apply to this case, where there is no obvious link between free-living green algae and humans - as in, the algae do not colonise human skin or internal organs.
Just more proof - if we needed any - that viruses are awesome B-)
Viral ecology is a rapidly progressing area of research, as molecular methods have improved significantly for targeted research on specific populations and whole communities. To interpret and synthesize global viral diversity and distribution, it is feasible to assess whether macroecology concepts can apply to marine viruses. We review how viral and host life history and physical properties can influence viral distribution in light of biogeography and meta-community ecology paradigms. We highlight analytical approaches that can be applied to emerging global data sets and meta-analyses to identify individual taxa with global influence and drivers of emergent properties that influence microbial community structure by drawing on examples across the spectrum of viral taxa, from RNA to ssDNA and dsDNA viruses.
Ed Rybicki's insight:
Excellent! Just when we needed one B-) Thanks, Flavia!
(Phys.org)—What have viruses ever done for humans? The question is debatable, but given the prevalence of highly contagious, and sometimes life-threatening illnesses caused by viruses, it's fair to say that most people would like to see the tables turned on these often-nasty bundles of DNA strands.
SOMEWHERE ON THE North Carolina State campus, a machine has been puking vanilla pudding. Aerosolized vomit-pudding sprays out of its mouth, which stretches open in permanent retching position. Unpleasant? Not as unpleasant as the real-life scenario the vomiting machine is testing: whether norovirus spreads through aerosolized human puke.
Bad news, the answer is probably yes, according to the vomiting machine researchers who published their results in PLoS ONE today. Norovirus causes 20 million cases of food poisoning in the US every year—usually on cruises and other confined spaces with cafeterias. The virus is highly contagious. Epidemiologists have long suspected that barfing sends the virus airborne, allowing it to land on new surfaces or, for the especially unlucky bystander, right in his or her mouth. Gross, but very convenient for a virus that causes puking.
Working as part of an international team in the United States and West Africa, a researcher at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has published new findings showing the ancient roots of the deadly Lassa virus, a relative of Ebola virus, and how Lassa virus has changed over time.
The ecological importance of viruses is now widely recognized, yet our limited knowledge of viral sequence space and virus-host interactions precludes accurate prediction of their roles and impacts. Here we mined publicly available bacterial and archaeal genomic datasets to identify 12,498 high‑confidence viral genomes linked to their microbial hosts. These data augment public datasets 10-fold, provide first viral sequences for 13 new bacterial phyla including ecologically abundant phyla, and help taxonomically identify 7-38% of 'unknown' sequence space in viromes. Genome- and network-based classification was largely consistent with accepted viral taxonomy and suggested that ( i ) 264 new viral genera were identified (doubling known genera) and ( ii ) cross-taxon genomic recombination is limited. Further analyses provided empirical data on extrachromosomal prophages and co‑infection prevalences, as well as evaluation of in silico virus-host linkage predictions. Together these findings illustrate the value of mining viral signal from microbial genomes.
The deep sea microbiology workshop series aimed to gather international experts in the field, and give them the opportunity to present up to date scientific research, and to discuss future cooperative works, in a friendly atmosphere. The idea of a series of workshops dedicated to deep sea microbiology was conceived first during the Extremophiles Conference held in Brest in September 2006. Prof. Dr. Xiao Xiang (University of Shanghai, China) has organized the first edition in Xiamen (China) in November 2008, where he was settled at that time. This meeting was very successful and a second edition has been organized by Prof Daniel Prieur and Prof Mohamed Jebbar in 2010 in Brest, France. Again, the 3rd edition was organized by Prof Xiao Xiang in Shanghai in October 2012 and in September 2014 Prof Mohamed Jebbar has organized the 4th edition in Brest.
New research led by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has provided the first direct evidence that an algae-infecting virus can invade and potentially replicate within some mammalian cells.
Known as Acanthocystis turfacea chlorella virus 1, or ATCV-1, the pathogen is among a class of chloroviruses long believed to take up residence only in green algae. That thinking changed with a 2014 study from Johns Hopkins University and UNL that found gene sequences resembling those of ATCV-1 in throat swabs of human participants.
The new study, published in the Journal of Virology, introduced ATCV-1 to macrophage cells that serve critical functions in the immune responses of mice, humans and other mammals. By tagging the virus with fluorescent dye and assembling three-dimensional images of mouse cells, the authors determined that ATCV-1 successfully infiltrated them.
Ed Rybicki's insight:
Right up there with evidence that mimiviruses may be implicated in pneumonia - we are nowhere near determining how many viruses are actually involved in human disease.
Coral foe becomes a friend Nature.com Seaweed often inhibits the growth of corals, but it can help them when they are faced with a coral-eating starfish. Seaweed can suppress coral growth by shading it from sunlight and by releasing toxic chemicals.
Viruses constitute the most abundant biological entities and a large reservoir of genetic diversity on Earth. Despite the recent surge in their study, our knowledge on their actual biodiversity and distribution remains sparse. We report the first metagenomic analysis of Arctic freshwater viral DNA communities and a comparative analysis with other freshwater environments. Arctic viromes are dominated by unknown and single-stranded DNA viruses with no close relatives in the database. These unique viral DNA communities mostly relate to each other and present some minor genetic overlap with other environments studied, including an Arctic Ocean virome. Despite common environmental conditions in polar ecosystems, the Arctic and Antarctic DNA viromes differ at the fine-grain genetic level while sharing a similar taxonomic composition. The study uncovers some viral lineages with a bipolar distribution, suggesting a global dispersal capacity for viruses, and seemingly indicates that viruses do not follow the latitudinal diversity gradient known for macroorganisms. Our study sheds light into the global biogeography and connectivity of viral communities.
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