from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Any virus that infects other viruses.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
Therefore, the virophage could be a vehicle mediating lateral gene transfer between giant viruses.
The team suggests that Sputnik is a ‘virophage’, much like the bacteriophage viruses that infect and sicken bacteria.
The scientists named the attacking virus Sputnik, and are calling it a virophage because it acts similarly to a bacteriophage — a virus that infects bacteria.
La Scola et al. consider Sputnik a novel phenomenon and wish to term it a virophage because, in order to replicate, it requires co-infection with the virus APMV4 and because its own replication inhibits that of its helper.
The discovery sheds light onto the unique interactions between viruses and has implications on the evolution of these infectious agents, as is evident from the gene mixing and matching within the virophage.