Intragenus competition between coccolithoviruses: an insight on how a select few can come to dominate many

Nissimov, JI, Napier, JA, Allen, MJ and Kimmance, SA 2016 Intragenus competition between coccolithoviruses: an insight on how a select few can come to dominate many. Environmental Microbiology, 18 (1). 133-145.

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Viruses are a major cause of coccolithophore bloom demise in both temperate and sub-temperate oceanic regions. Most infection studies on coccolithoviruses have been conducted with a single virus strain, and the effect of intragenus competition by closely related coccolithoviruses has been ignored. Here we conducted combined infection experiments, infecting Emiliania huxleyi CCMP 2090 with two coccolithoviruses: EhV-86 and EhV-207 both simultaneously and independently. EhV-207 displayed a shorter lytic cycle and increased production potential than EhV-86 and was remarkably superior under competitive conditions. Although the viruses displayed identical adsorption kinetics in the first 2 h post infection, EhV-207 gained a numerical advantage as early as 8 h post infection. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) revealed that when infecting in combination, EhV-207 was not affected by the presence of EhV-86, whereas EhV-86 was quickly out-competed, and a significant reduction in free and cell-associated EhV-86 was seen as early as 2 days after the initial infection. The observation of such clear phenotypic differences between genetically distinct, yet similar, coccolithovirus strains, by flow cytometry and quantitative real-time PCR allowed tentative links to the burgeoning genomic, transcriptomic and metabolic data to be made and the factors driving their selection, in particular to the de novo coccolithovirus-encoded sphingolipid biosynthesis pathway. This work illustrates that, even within a family, not all viruses are created equally, and the potential exists for relatively small genetic changes to infer disproportionately large competitive advantages for one coccolithovirus over another, ultimately leading to a few viruses dominating the many.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: Nissimov, J. I., Napier, J. A., Allen, M. J. and Kimmance, S. A. (2016), Intragenus competition between coccolithoviruses: an insight on how a select few can come to dominate many. Environ Microbiol, 18: 133–145. doi:10.1111/1462-2920.12902, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving."
Subjects: Ecology and Environment
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > National Capability categories > Added Value
Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Marine Biochemistry and Observations
Depositing User: Mike Allen
Date made live: 10 Jun 2016 10:22
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2020 09:57

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