Satellite Viruses: A Literature Review
M. Heather Greenlee
Viruses as a whole have long been an infectious and deadly force of nature that has caused countless deaths and disfigurements, not only in humans but in plants and animals. Countless diseases throughout history can trace their origins back to viral infections and thus, created the necessary field of virology. With that came the discovery of satellite viruses, a subfamily of smaller viruses, with genomes of 0.22-1.5kbp, that utilize “helper viruses” to perform necessary actions required for the satellite’s survival. Whether the interaction between a satellite virus and its helper virus is symbiotic or detrimental to the helper is dependent upon the species of the satellite. The existence of satellite viruses is a recent discovery which limits the available facts regarding them, but new information is being uncovered every day and the study of satellite viruses is an expanding and promising field. Satellite virus genomes vary, with discoveries including single-stranded RNA, single-stranded DNA, and double-stranded DNA satellite viruses.