Editor-in-Chief: Jean-Marc Sabatier Laboratoire ERT 62 'Ingénierie des peptides à visée thérapeutique' Université de la Méditerranée Faculté de Médecine Nord Boulevard Pierre Dramard 13916 - MARSEILLE, Cedex 20 France
Affiliation: National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS), Kids research Institute, Children Hospital at Westmead, Cnr Hawkesbury Road and Hainsworth Street, Westmead, Locked Bag 4001, Westmead NSW 2145, University of Sydney, Australia.
The numerous protozoa that can inhabit the human gastro-intestinal tract are known, yet little is understood of the viruses which infect these protozoa. The discovery, morphologic details, purification methods of virus-like particles, genome and proteome of the parasitic viruses, Entamoeba histolytica, Giardia lamblia, Trichomonas vaginalis, and the Eimeria sp. are described in this review. The protozoan viruses share many common features: most of them are RNA or double-stranded RNA viruses, ranging between 5 and 8 kilobases, and are spherical or icosahedral in shape with an average diameter of 30-40 nm. These viruses may influence the function and pathogenicity of the protozoa which they infect, and may be important to investigate from a clinical perspective. The viruses may be used as specific genetic transfection vectors for the parasites and may represent a research tool. This review provides an overview on recent advances in the field of protozoan viruses.