Chloroviruses lure hosts through long-distance chemical signaling

David D. Dunigan, Maitham Al-Sammak, Zeina Al-Ameeli, Irina V. Agarkova, John P. DeLong, James L. Van Etten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Chloroviruses exist in aquatic systems around the planet and they infect certain eukaryotic green algae that are mutualistic endosymbionts in a variety of protists and metazoans. Natural chlorovirus populations are seasonally dynamic, but the precise temporal changes in these populations and the mechanisms that underlie them have heretofore been unclear. We recently reported the novel concept that predator/prey-mediated virus activation regulates chlorovirus population dynamics, and in the current study, we demonstrate virus-packaged chemotactic modulation of prey behavior. IMPORTANCE Viruses have not previously been reported to act as chemotactic/chemoattractive agents. Rather, viruses as extracellular entities are generally viewed as non-metabolically active spore-like agents that await further infection events upon collision with appropriate host cells. That a virus might actively contribute to its fate via chemotaxis and change the behavior of an organism independent of infection is unprecedented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01688
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2019


  • Chemotaxis
  • Chlorovirus
  • Giant virus
  • Population dynamics
  • Symbiosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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