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Odd Little Virus

Researchers in Brazil have uncovered an amoeba-infecting virus unlike any other virus, Live Science reports.

They collected water samples from near Belo Horizonte, Brazil, to search for giant viruses, which are known to infect amoebas, but when the researchers tested the samples, they also found a small virus that infected the amoeba Acanthamoeba castellanii, as the Federal University of Minas Gerais' Jônatas Abrahão tells Live Science.

In a preprint posted to BioRxiv, Abrahão and his colleagues described the new virus they found, which they dubbed Yaravirus. This virus contains 74 predicted genes but more than 90 percent of them have never before been described and it initially appeared to lack a capsid gene or other classical viral genes. However, a proteomic analysis found that it contains 26 viral proteins, most of which had no paralogs in public databases, but one of which appears to be a novel capsid protein. 

Based on their findings, Abrahão and his colleagues write in their preprint "that Yaravirus represents a new lineage of viruses isolated from A. castellanii cells. The amount of unknown proteins composing the Yaravirus particles reflects the variability existing in the viral world and how much potential of new viral genomes are still to be discovered."