Satellite (biology)

Not to be confused with Satellite chromosome.
Scientific classification
(unranked): Subviral agents
(unranked): Satellite

Satellite viruses
Satellite nucleic acids

A satellite is a subviral agent composed of nucleic acid that depends on the co-infection of a host cell with a helper or master virus for its replication. When a satellite encodes the coat protein in which its nucleic acid is encapsidated it is referred to as a satellite virus. A satellite virus of mamavirus that inhibits the replication of its host has been termed a virophage.[1] However, the usage of this term remains controversial due to the lack of fundamental differences between virophages and classical satellite viruses.[2]

The genomes of satellites range upward from 359 nucleotides in length for Satellite Tobacco Ringspot Virus RNA (STobRV).[3]

Satellite viral particles should not be confused with satellite DNA.


See also


  1. Bernard La Scola; Christelle Desnues; Isabelle Pagnier; Catherine Robert; Lina Barrassi; Ghislain Fournous; Michèle Merchat; Marie Suzan-Monti; Patrick Forterre; Eugene Koonin & Didier Raoult (2008). "The virophage as a unique parasite of the giant mimivirus". Nature. 455 (7205): 100–4. doi:10.1038/nature07218. PMID 18690211.
  2. Krupovic M; Cvirkaite-Krupovic V (2011). "Virophages or satellite viruses?". Nat Rev Microbiol. 9 (11): 762–763. doi:10.1038/nrmicro2676. PMID 22016897.
  3. Wayne L. Gerlach; Jamal M. Buzayan; Irving R. Schneider; George Bruening (1986). "Satellite Tobacco Ringspot Virus RNA: Biological Activity of DNA Clones and Their in Vitro Transcripts". Virology. 151: 172–185. doi:10.1016/0042-6822(86)90040-1.
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