When amoeba get a cold, its a big one.
French scientists have discovered a new form of virus – the largest ever discovered and one which is twenty times larger than the average virus. And this particular virus does something rather unusual, according to the BBC article linked to in the Popular Science blog post below.
Whereas viruses typically invade a host cell and simply turn the nucleus (the “brain” of a cell) into its slave, thereby getting the cell to make replications of the virus, this one appears to setup whole organelles for the same purpose. Organelles, you’ll recall from biology class, are the “organs” that exist inside the cell, like the mitochondria, ribosomes, and the always-popular endoplastic reticulum. These organelles are referred to as “trojan,” implying that their purpose is to disguise what’s going on from the rest of the cell.
So, whereas computers have trojan viruses, apparently amoeba have viruses that create trojans. What a world.