Amoebas of the genus Acanthamoeba are protists that are associated with human disease and represent a public health concern. They can harbor pathogenic microorganisms, acting as a platform for pathogen replication. Acanthamoeba polyphaga mimivirus (APMV), the type species of the genus Mimivirus , family Mimiviridae , represents the largest group of amoeba-associated viruses that has been described to date. Recent studies have demonstrated that APMV and other giant viruses may cause pneumonia. Amoebas can survive in most environments and tolerate various adverse conditions, including UV light irradiation, high concentrations of disinfectants, and a broad range of temperatures. However, it is unknown how the amoebal intracellular environment influences APMV stability and resistance to adverse conditions. Therefore, in this work, we evaluated the stability of APMV, either purified or carried by the amoeba host, under extreme conditions, including UV irradiation, heat and exposure to six different chemical biocides. After each treatment, the virus was titrated in amoebas using the TCID 50 method. APMV was more stable in all resistance tests performed when located inside its host. Our results demonstrate that Acanthamoeba acts as a natural bunker for APMV, increasing viral resistance to extreme physical and chemical conditions. The data raise new questions regarding the survival of APMV in nature and in hospital environments.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: May 1, 2014
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