Researchers from Johns Hopkins University found evidence that an algae-infecting virus is capable of invading mammalian cells. Acanthocystis turfacea chlorella virus 1, or ATCV-1, is a pathogen belonging to a class of chloroviruses that was believed to thrive only in green algae. However, when conducting a study, the researchers tagged ATCV-1 with fluorescent dye and introduced it to macrophage cells (which serve critical functions in immune responses) in mice, humans, and other mammals. They found that the virus not only invaded the cells but also multiplied within 24 hours. The macrophage cells responded to the ATCV-1 virus in the same way as it would to a usual virus. David Dunigan, co-author of the study believes this to be an important discovery because chloroviruses were thought to have a limited "host range," which means they could not thrive in animals. Therefore, the team is conducting further research to determine whether the virus is capable of causing cognitive impairments in animals or humans.
Read more in Science Daily.