Standing on the shoulders of giant viruses: five lessons learned about large viruses infecting small eukaryotes and the opportunities they create


Viruses are generally considered to be amongst the smallest bioactive particles; dating back to the original observations, including those of luminaries such as Ivanosky and Beijerinck, size has always been at issue within the definition, a tradition that continued for many years [1]. It was thus a surprise to the scientific community in the early 2000s when French scientists demonstrated that a particle, previously thought to be a bacterium, was indeed a virus [2]. The discovery of the Mimivirus and the other “giants” that have followed, including Mamavirus, Pandoravirus, Faustovirus, and Mollivirus, has blurred the definition of what constitutes a virus and, indeed, the boundaries between viral particles and cellular life.

PLoS pathogens, 12(8)
Mohammad 'Monir' Moniruzzaman
Mohammad 'Monir' Moniruzzaman
Assistant Professor of Marine Biology and Ecology