IUBio Biosequences .. Software .. Molbio soft .. Network News .. FTP

Viruses as prey

PANGELETTI at bmg.bhs.uab.edu PANGELETTI at bmg.bhs.uab.edu
Thu Aug 31 16:33:29 EST 1995

Larry Farrell:
As non-living entities, it is highly unlikely that viruses would serve as 
"prey" for other organisms.

One could easily imagine that "non-living" viruses could be broken down for their amino 
acids and nucleic acids by bacteria and other microbes. Phagocytosis by mircobes is one of 
the most common ways to extract the goodies - as you know.  

Larry Farrell:
However, that uptake by the "predator" would result in the 
virus being introduced into a living cell and, given the ability of 
viruses to take advantage of cellular processes for their own 
replication, might give the virus an opportunity to replicate and 
(probably) kill that cell.

I think that this is a bit of a host range generalization.  Not all viruses are in the least 
infectious to cells that take them up.  Animal viruses are not infectious to bacteria or 
yeast or other lower unicellular critters.  A big animal virus is just a mass of molecular 
junk to a bacterium or yeast.  Really, not a bad food source.  The "optimal foraging 
strategy" on a nutrient starved surface like a rock or a lab bench is to suck up as many 
AA's and NA's as possible.  I see no problem with the "viruses as food" hypothesis.  
However, it's probably not a terribly abundant source of nutrients.

Anyway, it's an interesting proposition.


Peter C. Angeletti
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics
University of Alabama at Birmingham 
Pangeletti at bmg.bhs.uab.edu

More information about the Virology mailing list

Send comments to us at biosci-help [At] net.bio.net