Host-to-host transmission and the prevalence of infection define the reproductive success of viruses. Research teams in Spain, Mexico and The Netherlands observed that one virus can apparently hitchhike a ride from one host to the next using the particles of other virus as their means of transport. This mechanism may be an effective means of improving virus survival in the environment and may also assist during the infection of each new host. The hitchhiking viruses, known as iflaviruses, are small viruses that infect insects. Iflaviruses comprise an RNA genome and a protein coat. These particles, measuring not more than 25 nm, were inferred to be physically associated with the particles of large DNA insect viruses, called baculoviruses.
Iflavirus increases its infectivity and physical stability in association with baculovirus.
Agata K. Jakubowska, Rosa Murillo, Arkaitz Carballo, Trevor Williams, Jan W. van Lent, Primitivo Caballero and Salvador Herrero. PeerJ 4:e1687; DOI 10.7717/peerj.1687