When a virus enters a cell, it can either remain dormant or begin replicating immediately.
When replicating, the virus essentially orders the cell’s molecular factory to make multiple copies, after which it exits the cell to release new copies.
But sometimes they discover that some other inactive virus is already present in the cell. Hence a fight broke out between the two sides for control of the cell.
According to the newspaper, unexpectedly, recently biologists from the University of Maryland (USA) have discovered a type of “vampire” virus that specializes in increasing its numbers by attaching to the neck of another virus. Conversation,
They isolated a satellite phage called miniflare from the soil bacterium Streptomyces scabiei.
Further research shows that the MiniFlayer refuses to lie still. Instead, it develops a small appendage that allows it to attach to the neck of another virus like a “vampire.”
Scientists say understanding the complex and sometimes predatory nature of miniflares is likely to open new avenues for antiviral therapy.
war between viruses
For decades, biologists have known about the existence of viruses that prey on other viruses, called “satellite” viruses.
In 1973, scientists studied bacteriophage P2, a virus that infects the intestinal bacteria Escherichia coli. They found that this infection sometimes resulted in the release of two different types of viruses from the cell: phage P2 and phage P4.
Bacteriophage P4 is a virus that can integrate into the chromosome of the host cell and remain inactive. When P2 infects a cell containing P4, latent P4 immediately awakens and uses P2’s genetic instructions to make hundreds of its own small virus particles.
In this case, biologists call P2 a “helper” virus, because the P4 satellite requires P2’s genetic material to replicate and spread.
Subsequent research revealed that most bacterial species have a diverse set of satellite helper systems, such as P4–P2.
Satellite viruses and their helper viruses engage in an endless evolutionary race: Satellite viruses develop new ways to exploit helper viruses, while helper viruses develop new ways to exploit helper viruses. Develop countermeasures to stop them.
Since both are viruses, the outcome of this “war” necessarily requires something that everyone cares about: antiviral drugs.