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Trends Genet. 2007 Jan;23(1):10-5. Epub 2006 Nov 15.

I am what I eat and I eat what I am: acquisition of bacterial genes by giant viruses.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Microbiologie et Génétique Moléculaires, CNRS 118, Route de Narbonne, F-31062 Toulouse Cedex, France. jonathan.filee@ibcg.biotoul.fr

Abstract

Giant viruses are nucleocytoplasmic large DNA viruses (NCLDVs) that infect algae (phycodnaviruses) and amoebae (Mimivirus). We report an unexpected abundance in these giant viruses of islands of bacterial-type genes, including apparently intact prokaryotic mobile genetic elements, and hypothesize that NCLDV genomes undergo successive accretions of bacterial genes. The viruses could acquire bacterial genes within their bacteria-feeding eukaryotic hosts, and we suggest that such acquisition is driven by the intimate coupling of recombination and replication in NCLDVs.

PMID:
17109990
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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