In this study, we report the isolation of a new giant virus found in sewage water from the southern area of Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), with morphological and genomic resemblance to Faustoviruses. This new giant virus, named Kaumoebavirus, was obtained from co-culture with Vermamoeba vermiformis, an amoeboid protozoa considered to be of special interest to human health and the environment. This new virus has ~250 nm icosahedral capsids and a 350,731 bp DNA genome length. The genome of Kaumoebavirus has a coding density of 86%, corresponding to 465 genes. Most of these genes (59%) are closely related to genes from members of the proposed order Megavirales, and the best matches to its proteins with other members of the Megavirales are Faustoviruses (43%) and Asfarviruses (23%). Unsurprisingly, phylogenetic reconstruction places Kaumoebavirus as a distant relative of Faustoviruses and Asfarviruses.
Keywords: Asfarviruses; Faustoviruses; Kaumoebavirus; Vermamoeba vermiformis.