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Aquatic Microbial Ecology

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AME - Vol. 49, No. 2 - Feature article
TEM of a novel virus (SmDNAV) infecting a heterotrophic protist Sicyoidochytrium minutum. (A) Negatively stained SmDNAV particles; (B) thin section of a SmDNAV-infected cell at 24 h post inoculation (black arrowheads: intracellular virions; white arrowheads: extracellular virions) Photo: Yoshitake Takao

Takao Y, Nagasaki K, Honda D


Squashed ball-like dsDNA virus infecting a marine fungoid protist Sicyoidochytrium minutum (Thraustochytriaceae, Labyrinthulomycetes)


A number of marine viruses have been discovered so far, and are now recognized as important agents in controlling biomasses, nutrient cycling and biodiversity of marine microorganisms. However, the relationship between colorless (heterotrophic) protists and their viruses is scarcely understood. Thraustochytrids are cosmopolitan osmo-heterotrophic protists that play an important role as decomposers in coastal ecosystems. We succeeded in isolating a novel double-stranded large DNA virus (SmDNAV) infecting a thraustochytrid (Sicyoidochytrium minutum). When the virions are newly synthesized intracellularly, they are fairly round; once they are released into the ambient seawater environment, their shape changes to 'squashed ball-like'. In this report, we describe the isolation and fundamental characterization of this novel 'strange' virus.


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