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Virus classification
Group: Group I (dsDNA)
Family: Mimiviridae

Mimiviridae is a family of viruses. Amoeba and other protists serve as natural hosts. The family is divided in 3 subfamilies.[1][2][3] Viruses in this family belong to the nucleocytoplasmic large DNA virus clade (NCLDV).


The first member of this family—the Mimivirus—was discovered in 2003.[4]


Group: dsDNA

The genus is currently divided into three subfamilies.[2][3][5]

The majority of Mimiviridae appear to belong to this subfamily (Mimiviruses).[5].
It is sometimes also referred to as Mimiviridae group I.[10]

Although only a couple of members of this family have been described in detail it seems likely there are many more awaiting description and assignment,[13][14] For example Terra2, Aureococcus anophagefferens virus (AaV), Phaeocystis pouchetii virus 01, and Pyramimonas orientalis virus.

Furthermore, it has been proposed to extend Mimiviridae family by an additional tentative group III (aka OLPG) that may consist of the following:

This group seems to be closely related to Mimiviridae rather than to Phycodnaviridae. The extended Mimiviridae family is sometimes referred to as Megaviridae although this has not been recognized by ICTV.[15][16][17][18][10]


Viruses in Mimiviridae have icosahedral and round geometries, with between T=972 and T=1141, or T=1200 symmetry. The diameter is around 400 nm, with a length of 125 nm. Genomes are linear and non-segmented, around 1200kb in length. The genome has 911 open reading frames.[1]

Genus Structure Symmetry Capsid Genomic arrangement Genomic segmentation
Mimivirus Icosahedral T=972-1141 or T=1200 (H=19 +/- 1, K=19 +/- 1) Linear Monopartite
Cafeteriavirus Icosahedral T=499 Linear Monopartite

Life cycle[edit]

Replication follows the DNA strand displacement model. DNA-templated transcription is the method of transcription. Amoeba serve as the natural host.[1]

Genus Host details Tissue tropism Entry details Release details Replication site Assembly site Transmission
Mimivirus Zooplankton None Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Passive diffusion
Klosneuvirus Unknown None Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Cafeteriavirus Amoeba None Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Passive diffusion

Molecular biology[edit]

Within the genome of Lentille virus integrated genome of a virophage (Sputnik 2) and a transpoviron—a mobile genetic element—have been reported. Transpovirons are linear DNA elements of about 7 kilobases that encompass six to eight protein coding genes, two of which are homologous to virophage genes. Broad spectrum of mimiviridae virophage allows its isolation using a mimivirus reporter.[9]


Mimiviruses have been associated with pneumonia but their significance if any is currently unknown.[19] The only virus of this family isolated from a human to date is LBA 111.[20] Mimivirus has also been implicated in rheumatoid arthritis.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Viral Zone". ExPASy. Retrieved 15 June 2015. 
  2. ^ a b ICTV. "Virus Taxonomy: 2014 Release". Retrieved 15 June 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c Schulz, Frederik; Yutin, Natalya; Ivanova, Natalia N.; Ortega, Davi R.; Lee, Tae Kwon; Vierheilig, Julia; Daims, Holger; Horn, Matthias; Wagner, Michael (2017-04-07). "Giant viruses with an expanded complement of translation system components". Science. 356 (6333): 82–85. ISSN 0036-8075. doi:10.1126/science.aal4657. 
  4. ^ Suzan-Monti M, La Scola B, Raoult D (2006) Genomic and evolutionary aspects of Mimivirus. Virus Res 117(1):145-155
  5. ^ a b Colson P, Fournous G, Diene SM, Raoult D (2013) Codon usage, amino acid usage, transfer RNA and amino-acyl-tRNA synthetases in mimiviruses. Intervirology 56(6):364-375. doi: 10.1159/000354557
  6. ^ a b c Morgan Gaia et al.: Zamilon, a Novel Virophage with Mimiviridae Host Specificity, in: PLoS One. 2014; 9(4): e94923. Published online 2014 Apr 18. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0094923
  7. ^ Christelle Desnues et al.: Provirophages and transpovirons as the diverse mobilome of giant viruses, in: Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109(44), P. 18078–18083, 2012 Oct 30, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1208835109
  8. ^ Natalya Yutin et al.: Origin of giant viruses from smaller DNA viruses not from a fourth domain of cellular life, in: Virology Volumes 466–467, October 2014, P. 38-52, doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2014.06.032
  9. ^ a b Gaia M, Pagnier I, Campocasso A, Fournous G, Raoult D, La Scola B: Broad Spectrum of Mimiviridae Virophage Allows Its Isolation Using a Mimivirus Reporter, in: PLoS One 8(4):e61912 (2013). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0061912
  10. ^ a b Weijia Zhang et al.: Four novel algal virus genomes discovered from Yellowstone Lake metagenomes, in: Scientific Reports 5, Article number: 15131 (2015), especially Figure 6, doi: 10.1038/srep15131
  11. ^ Matthias G. Fischer; Michael J. Allen; William H. Wilson; Curtis A. Suttle (2010). "Giant virus with a remarkable complement of genes infects marine zooplankton". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 107 (45): 19508–19513. Bibcode:2010PNAS..10719508F. PMC 2984142Freely accessible. PMID 20974979. doi:10.1073/pnas.1007615107. 
  12. ^ F. Schulz et al.: [1], in: Science 356, 82-85, July 4th 2017, UCPMS ID: 1889607, doi: 10.1126/science.aal4657, PDF, especially Fig. 2
  13. ^ Ghedin E, Claverie JM (2005) Mimivirus relatives in the Sargasso sea. Virol J. 2:62
  14. ^ Monier A, Claverie JM, Ogata H (2008) Taxonomic distribution of large DNA viruses in the sea. Genome Biol. 9(7):R106.
  15. ^ Eugene V Koonin, Mart Krupovic, Natalya Yutin: Evolution of double-stranded DNA viruses of eukaryotes: From bacteriophages to transposons to giant viruses, in: ResearchGate Literature Review February 2015, doi: 10.1111/nyas.12728, Figure 3
  16. ^ Natalya Yutin et al.: Mimiviridae: clusters of orthologous genes, reconstruction of gene repertoire evolution and proposed expansion of the giant virus family, in: Virol J. 2013; 10: 106, doi: 10.1186/1743-422X-10-106
  17. ^ Blog of Carolina Reyes, Kenneth Stedman: Are Phaeocystis globosa viruses (OLPG) and Organic Lake phycodnavirus a part of the Phycodnaviridae or Mimiviridae?, on ResearchGate, Jan. 8, 2016
  18. ^ Fumito Maruyama and Shoko Ueki: Evolution and Phylogeny of Large DNA Viruses, Mimiviridae and Phycodnaviridae Including Newly Characterized Heterosigma akashiwo Virus, in: Front. Microbiol., 30 November 2016, doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.01942
  19. ^ Saadi H, Pagnier I, Colson P, Cherif JK, Beji M, Boughalmi M, Azza S, Armstrong N, Robert C, Fournous G, La Scola B, Raoult D (2013) First isolation of Mimivirus in a patient with pneumonia. Clin Infect Dis
  20. ^ Yoosuf N, Pagnier I, Fournous G, Robert C, La Scola B, Raoult D, Colson P (2013) Complete genome sequence of Courdo11 virus, a member of the family Mimiviridae. Virus Genes
  21. ^ Shah, N.; Hulsmeier, A. J.; Hochhold, N.; Neidhart, M.; Gay, S.; Hennet, T. (2013). "Exposure to Mimivirus Collagen Promotes Arthritis". Journal of Virology. 88 (2): 838–45. PMC 3911627Freely accessible. PMID 24173233. doi:10.1128/JVI.03141-13. 

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