Megavirus May Be Stripped-Down Version of Normal CellWired Science

About five years ago, biologists were surprised by the first discovery of an extremely large virus. Viruses are generally stripped down, efficient predators, only carrying as much DNA or RNA necessary to hijack their host and make extra copies of themselves. The newly discovered virus, called Mimivirus, was anything but stripped down; it carried a genome nearly the size of some bacterial species. And, instead of simply hijacking its host, the viral genome carried a lot of genes that replaced basic cellular functions, including some involved in DNA repair and the manufacturing of proteins. […]

To the authors, this suggests that the viruses are the evolutionary descendants of an ancient, free-living eukaryotic cell. Various genes and structures from that organism have gradually been lost over its long history as a parasite, leaving something that propagates like a virus, but belongs to a distinct lineage from all other viruses that we’re aware of.


proof that freeloading assholes are as old as life itself

Findings reveal clues to functioning of mysterious 'mimivirus'
Researchers have discovered the structure of a key protein on the surface of an unusually large virus called the mimivirus, aiding efforts to determine its hosts and unknown functions.

In the laboratory, the virus has been studied while infecting amoebas, but its natural hosts in the wild and many details about the virus remain unknown, said Michael Rossmann, Purdue University’s Hanley Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences. He led a team of researchers who discovered the structure of a key, enzyme-like protein called R135, which is contained in fibers on the outer surface of the virus. The structure of R135 is similar to an enzyme called aryl alcohol oxidase, which is found in a fungus and is involved in biodegrading lignin in plant cell walls. "This could tell us something about the mimivirus’s natural hosts,“ Rossmann said. "We think there must be another host, something different than amoebas and that this enzyme helps the virus get into this host. Perhaps R135 participates in the degradation of lignin so that the virus can enter a host such as lignin-containing algae.”

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-05-reveal-clues-functioning-mysterious-mimivirus.html#jCp

Modelling Molecules

To see molecules in 3D, scientists use X-ray crystallography – a technique in which an electron beam is fired at a crystallised sample. The patterns the electrons make as they scatter are processed to create 3D models. These help drug designers to identify novel ways to disrupt viruses or manipulate proteins . But some molecules defy this method. The mimivirus, for example, has fibres coating its shell that prevent crystallisation. Now, scientists can get a closer look using a device with lasers so intense and fast that they work even with non-crystalline samples. Like high-speed strobe lights, they fire an ultra-bright beam in super-fast pulses, so images can be collected before samples are obliterated. Here we see the pattern from a mimivirus particle, which allows scientists to glean unprecedented information about its structure. With the X-ray free-electron laser, previously hidden aspects of life can now be revealed.

Written by Daniel Cossins


             About a month or so ago, I posted a link on this blog that lead to a new story about Pandoraviruses. Recently, I was able to gain access to the paper that detailed the discovery and unique qualities of these creatures.

             Before we can talk about why this discovery is important, we have to talk about the viruses that we have known about for decades. Viruses are generally very small, even to the point of being smaller than most bacteria. They also have genomes (that is their library of genetic information made up of either DNA or RNA depending on the virus) that are relatively small compared to living cells. These qualities were thought to be common to all viruses; until the Mimivirus was discovered.

            Mimivirus is a classification of virus that was discovered only recently. These viruses are large, with genomes reaching the size of some bacteria (~1,000,000 base pairs, or 1Mb). Their physical size was at about the same level. In fact, in initial discovery, they were thought to be just another bacteria. It was only when they were examined further that they were found to be only viruses. These particles  surprised the scientific community, and, to quote the article, “challenged criteria and protocols historically established to separate viruses from cellular organisms.”

            With the discovery of Pandoraviruses, this criteria has been challenged even further. These new viruses are HUGE, both in genome size (~2.2 Mb) and in physical size (~1μm). That may not seem like much, but their genomes are much more advanced than even some eukaryotes. Their size and shape closely resembles bacteria. This discovery certainly blurs the line between living and non-living, and I will be close monitoring for more advancements in the field.

Researchers snap giant virus in 3-D

Researchers snap giant virus in 3-D

HONG KONG: First isolated in 1992 from Acanthamoeba polyphaga growing in a water tower in Bradford, UK, Mimivirus is one of the largest, most complex viruses known.
The Mimivirus’ structure is so similar to that of the amoeba that it was only identified as a virus in 2003.
The virus appears to be an icosahedral-shaped particle with a diameter of 400 nm and no envelope, surrounded by 80-nm-long…

View On WordPress

VIRUS URIAS, descoperit in SIBERIA! Prezinta o AMENINTARE pentru oameni si animale? VIDEO

VIRUS URIAS, descoperit in solul inghetat al Siberiei! Prezinta o AMENINTARE pentru oameni si animale?

Un nou tip de virus urias, denumit “Pithovirus”, vechi de peste 30.000 de ani, a fost descoperit intr-un strat de permafrost siberian contemporan cu extinctia omului de Neanderthal.

Acest virus foarte vechi,…

View On WordPress

Reflections on My 65-year-old Concept of the Human Soul

Reflections on My 65-year-old Concept of the Human Soul

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Newly discovered mimivirus could be a forth ‘domain’ of life!! Read on…..

When I was a 16 year old college freshman in 1949, studying bio-physics, I marveled at the amazing similarities between atoms and galaxies like our own Milky Way.

Atoms are composed of a nucleus which has a loyal group of particles spinning around…

View On WordPress

“For Dominion,” said Nazara. 
It didn’t work the second time. Lazarus looked at her, looked at pants and said:
“Not cloth keeps Dominion strong, but metal.”
His metal butt shone in the sun. “I’m ashamed to be seen with you in public,” Nasara groaned.
“Ha ha,” said Zoria in a mechanical voice. “Shame,” - and high-fived Decimus.
“Free mind in a free body!” said Laconix. Nazara rolled her eyes.
“They won’t let us in the town again” she promised. “They won’t let it’s in the town, we’ll spend the night outdoors, the dew will fall in the morning and we will wake up wet.”
Everybody thought about wetness and shivered.
“Let’s change tactics,” said Decimus. “What do you think about dresses, friend?”
“It goes against the heteronormativity of organic cultures” warned Nazara.
“Our unit productivity will drop another 8 percent,” answered Decimus in tone.
Laconix perked up.
“Heteronormativity is a prejudice of lesser races!”
Decimus gave Nazara a meaningful look. Nazara sighed. Zoria said:
“Ha, ha. Heteronormativity.”