Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Mimicking Virus

Last month, when I posted a Mimivirus/Giant Virus(Girus) update, I linked to this article about the Mimivirus and the Emerging Concept of the Giant Virus, which I had only briefly scanned over. I finally read it more closely and found it to be very interesting and therefore again recommend it.

Here is the point that I found to be the most interesting, which I had not yet considered (this is paraphrased from part of the above mentioned article):

The girus (giant virus), Acanthamoeba polyphaga, is also known as the Mimivirus because it was initially misidentified as a Gram-positive bacteria. The two factors responsible for this may be key in its physiology. It is large enough to be seen under a light microscope and it appears to be mildly gram positive on staining. The Mimivirus is known to infect or parasitize certain amoeba. The size of the virus and its polysaccharide and lipopolysaccarhide-like outer layer triggers the phagocytosis of the virus by the amoeba, because it resembles a small prokaryote. It is believed that the mimivirus is probably locked in a sporelike structure and digestion of this outer layer is required for actual infection which occurs through the endocytic vacuole membrane.

There is much more information in the above article about these giruses that I cannot confidently discuss because it is beyond my scope, which is why I again recommend giving it a close look for yourself.

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