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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Mar 30;107(13):5978-82. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0912737107. Epub 2010 Mar 15.

Vaccinia-like cytoplasmic replication of the giant Mimivirus.

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Department of Organic Chemistry and Electron Microscopy Center, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel.


Poxviruses are considered to be unique among all DNA viruses, because their infection cycle is carried out exclusively in the host cytoplasm. Such an infection strategy is of interest, because it necessitates generation of elaborate factories in which viral replication and assembly are promoted. By using diverse imaging techniques, we show that the infection cycle of the largest virus currently identified, the Acanthamoeba polyphaga Mimivirus, similarly occurs exclusively in the host cytoplasm. We further show that newly synthesized mRNAs accumulate at discrete cytoplasmic sites that are distinct from the sites where viral replication occurs, and this is observed in vaccinia infection. By revealing substantial physiologic similarity between poxviruses and Mimivirus and thus, implying that an entirely cytoplasmic viral replication might be more common than generally considered, these findings underscore the ability of DNA viruses to generate large and elaborate replication factories.

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