The virophage as a unique parasite of the giant mimivirus. La Scola B, Desnues C, Pagnier I, Robert C, Barrassi L, Fournous G, Merchat M, Suzan-Monti M, Forterre P, Koonin E, Raoult D.
A Virophage at the Origin of Large DNA Transposons
Matthias G. Fischer1 and Curtis A. Suttle1,2,3
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, 6339 Stores Road, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. 2Department of Botany, 6339 Stores Road, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. 3Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, 6339 Stores Road, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
I wrote about these little dudes before– Viruses that parasitize other viruses, fleas on the backs of fleas. Its actually beneficial to the host to be infected with the virophage, because the virophage inhibits the growth of the virus, which kills the host. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
Whats neat about the two virophages that were just discovered, is that they were discovered ‘in real life’. First guy might have been a weird lab/human contaminant thingie, an oddball– but it turns out it has lots of relatives irl too!