The virus may also infect humans and affect the brain.
It’s relatively uncommon for viruses to infect organisms from different kingdoms of life. But now, scientists have determined that a particular virus known to infect green algae can also infect mouse macrophages, a type of immune cell. University of Nebraska-Lincoln researcher David Dunigan says that it’s the only known virus to be able to infect algal and mammalian cells.
In a study published this month in the Journal of Virology, Dunigan and his colleagues found that the virus, ATCV-1, was capable of entering and infecting mouse macrophages, and increasing in mass, suggesting that it was making copies of itself. Following introduction of the virus, the scientists witnessed other cellular changes consistent with infection including cell death, Dunigan says.
Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.newsweek.com
Apparently Vincent Racaniello says "…finding a virus that can infect organisms in different kingdoms is quite unusual and not something you see every day, though it’s not unheard of.”
I think it is seriously unheard of: apart from reports implicating amoebae-infecting mimiviruses in pneumonia, which is not as great a phylogenetic divide as green algae and humans, I can’t think of anything infecting organisms that are so diverse, UNLESS one of them preys on the other.
Like insects and plants, for example: there are insect- and plant-infecting rhabdoviruses and reoviruses and bunyaviruses. However, these viruses infect insects and plants that have been bound up in a predator-prey relationship for many millions of years, and which have consequently shared their nanobiota.
This does NOT apply to this case, where there is no obvious link between free-living green algae and humans – as in, the algae do not colonise human skin or internal organs.
Just more proof – if we needed any – that viruses are awesome B-)