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Acanthamoeba polyphaga mimivirus and other giant viruses: an open field to outstanding discoveries

Jônatas S Abrahão1*, Fábio P Dornas1, Lorena CF Silva1, Gabriel M Almeida1, Paulo VM Boratto1, Phillipe Colson2, Bernard La Scola2 and Erna G Kroon1

Author Affiliations

1 Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Laboratório de Vírus, Avenida Antônio Carlos, 6627, Caixa Postal 486, Bloco F4, Sala 258, 31270-901 Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil

2 URMITE, UM63, CNRS 7278, IRD 198, Inserm 1095, Aix Marseille Universite, Marseille, France

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Virology Journal 2014, 11:120  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-11-120

Published: 30 June 2014


In 2003, Acanthamoeba polyphaga mimivirus (APMV) was first described and began to impact researchers around the world, due to its structural and genetic complexity. This virus founded the family Mimiviridae. In recent years, several new giant viruses have been isolated from different environments and specimens. Giant virus research is in its initial phase and information that may arise in the coming years may change current conceptions of life, diversity and evolution. Thus, this review aims to condense the studies conducted so far about the features and peculiarities of APMV, from its discovery to its clinical relevance.

Giant viruses; Mimiviridae; Mimivirus