April 21, 2020  |  

Identification and characterization of chicken circovirus from commercial broiler chickens in China.

Circoviruses are found in many species, including mammals, birds, lower vertebrates and invertebrates. To date, there are no reports of circovirus-induced diseases in chickens. In this study, we identified a new strain of chicken circovirus (CCV) by PacBio third-generation sequencing samples from chickens with acute gastroenteritis in a Shandong commercial broiler farm in China. The complete genome of CCV was verified by inverse PCR. Genomic analysis revealed that CCV codes two inverse open reading frames (ORFs), and a potential stem-loop structure was present at the 5′ end with a structure typical of a circular virus. Phylogenetic tree analysis showed that CCV formed an independent branch between mammalian and avian circovirus, and homology analysis indicated that the homology of CCV with 21 other known circoviruses was less than 40%. Thus, this CCV strain represents a new species in the genus Circovirus. The infection rate of CCV in 12 chickens with diarrhoea was 100%, but no CCV was found in healthy chickens, thereby indicating that the novel CCV strain is highly associated with acute infectious gastroenteritis in chickens. The emergence of a novel CCV in commercial broiler chickens is highly concerning for the broiler industry. © 2019 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.


April 21, 2020  |  

Virus-host coexistence in phytoplankton through the genomic lens

Phytoplankton-virus interactions are major determinants of geochemical cycles in the oceans. Viruses are responsible for the redirection of carbon and nutrients away from larger organisms back towards microorganisms via the lysis of microalgae in a process coined the “viral shunt”. Virus-host interactions are generally expected to follow “boom and bust” dynamics, whereby a numerically dominant strain is lysed and replaced by a virus resistant strain. Here, we isolated a microalga and its infective nucleo-cytoplasmic large DNA virus (NCLDV) concomitantly from the environment in the surface NW Mediterranean Sea, Ostreococcus mediterraneus, and show continuous growth in culture of both the microalga and the virus. Evolution experiments through single cell bottlenecks demonstrate that, in the absence of the virus, susceptible cells evolve from one ancestral resistant single cell, and vice-versa; that is that resistant cells evolve from one ancestral susceptible cell. This provides evidence that the observed sustained viral production is the consequence of a minority of virus-susceptible cells. The emergence of these cells is explained by low-level phase switching between virus-resistant and virus-susceptible phenotypes, akin to a bet hedging strategy. Whole genome sequencing and analysis of the ~14 Mb microalga and the ~200 kb virus points towards ancient speciation of the microalga within the Ostreococcus species complex and frequent gene exchanges between prasinoviruses infecting Ostreococcus species. Re-sequencing of one susceptible strain demonstrated that the phase switch involved a large 60 Kb deletion of one chromosome. This chromosome is an outlier chromosome compared to the streamlined, gene dense, GC-rich standard chromosomes, as it contains many repeats and few orthologous genes. While this chromosome has been described in three different genera, its size increments have been previously associated to antiviral immunity and resistance in another species from the same genus. Mathematical modelling of this mechanism predicts microalga-virus population dynamics consistent with the observation of continuous growth of both virus and microalga. Altogether, our results suggest a previously overlooked strategy in phytoplankton-virus interactions.


April 21, 2020  |  

Medusavirus, a Novel Large DNA Virus Discovered from Hot Spring Water.

Recent discoveries of new large DNA viruses reveal high diversity in their morphologies, genetic repertoires, and replication strategies. Here, we report the novel features of medusavirus, a large DNA virus newly isolated from hot spring water in Japan. Medusavirus, with a diameter of 260?nm, shows a T=277 icosahedral capsid with unique spherical-headed spikes on its surface. It has a 381-kb genome encoding 461 putative proteins, 86 of which have their closest homologs in Acanthamoeba, whereas 279 (61%) are orphan genes. The virus lacks the genes encoding DNA topoisomerase II and RNA polymerase, showing that DNA replication takes place in the host nucleus, whereas the progeny virions are assembled in the cytoplasm. Furthermore, the medusavirus genome harbored genes for all five types of histones (H1, H2A, H2B, H3, and H4) and one DNA polymerase, which are phylogenetically placed at the root of the eukaryotic clades. In contrast, the host amoeba encoded many medusavirus homologs, including the major capsid protein. These facts strongly suggested that amoebae are indeed the most promising natural hosts of medusavirus, and that lateral gene transfers have taken place repeatedly and bidirectionally between the virus and its host since the early stage of their coevolution. Medusavirus reflects the traces of direct evolutionary interactions between the virus and eukaryotic hosts, which may be caused by sharing the DNA replication compartment and by evolutionarily long lasting virus-host relationships. Based on its unique morphological characteristics and phylogenomic relationships with other known large DNA viruses, we propose that medusavirus represents a new family, MedusaviridaeIMPORTANCE We have isolated a new nucleocytoplasmic large DNA virus (NCLDV) from hot spring water in Japan, named medusavirus. This new NCLDV is phylogenetically placed at the root of the eukaryotic clades based on the phylogenies of several key genes, including that encoding DNA polymerase, and its genome surprisingly encodes the full set of histone homologs. Furthermore, its laboratory host, Acanthamoeba castellanii, encodes many medusavirus homologs in its genome, including the major capsid protein, suggesting that the amoeba is the genuine natural host from ancient times of this newly described virus and that lateral gene transfers have repeatedly occurred between the virus and amoeba. These results suggest that medusavirus is a unique NCLDV preserving ancient footprints of evolutionary interactions with its hosts, thus providing clues to elucidate the evolution of NCLDVs, eukaryotes, and virus-host interaction. Based on the dissimilarities with other known NCLDVs, we propose that medusavirus represents a new viral family, Medusaviridae.Copyright © 2019 Yoshikawa et al.


April 21, 2020  |  

Nine Novel Phages from a Plateau Lake in Southwest China: Insights into Aeromonas Phage Diversity.

Aeromonas species are common pathogens of fish and some of them can opportunistically cause infectious diseases in humans. The overuse of antibiotics has led to the emergence of bacterial drug-resistance. To date, only 51 complete genome sequences of Aeromonas phages are available in GenBank. Here, we report the isolation of nine Aeromonas phages from a plateau lake in China. The protein cluster, dot plot and ANI analyses were performed on all 60 currently sequenced Aeromonas phage genomes and classified into nine clusters and thirteen singletons. Among the nine isolated phages, the DNA-packaging strategy of cluster 2L372D (including 2L372D, 2L372X, 4L372D, 4L372XY) is unknown, while the other five phages use the headful (P22/Sf6) DNA-packaging strategy. Notably, the isolated phages with larger genomes conservatively encode auxiliary metabolism genes, DNA replication and metabolism genes, while in smaller phage genomes, recombination-related genes were conserved. Finally, we propose a new classification scheme for Aeromonas phages.


April 21, 2020  |  

Consensus and variations in cell line specificity among human metapneumovirus strains.

Human metapneumovirus (HMPV) has been a notable etiological agent of acute respiratory infection in humans, but it was not discovered until 2001, because HMPV replicates only in a limited number of cell lines and the cytopathic effect (CPE) is often mild. To promote the study of HMPV, several groups have generated green fluorescent protein (GFP)-expressing recombinant HMPV strains (HMPVGFP). However, the growing evidence has complicated the understanding of cell line specificity of HMPV, because it seems to vary notably among HMPV strains. In addition, unique A2b clade HMPV strains with a 180-nucleotide duplication in the G gene (HMPV A2b180nt-dup strains) have recently been detected. In this study, we re-evaluated and compared the cell line specificity of clinical isolates of HMPV strains, including the novel HMPV A2b180nt-dup strains, and six recombinant HMPVGFP strains, including the newly generated recombinant HMPV A2b180nt-dup strain, MG0256-EGFP. Our data demonstrate that VeroE6 and LLC-MK2 cells generally showed the highest infectivity with any clinical isolates and recombinant HMPVGFP strains. Other human-derived cell lines (BEAS-2B, A549, HEK293, MNT-1, and HeLa cells) showed certain levels of infectivity with HMPV, but these were significantly lower than those of VeroE6 and LLC-MK2 cells. Also, the infectivity in these suboptimal cell lines varied greatly among HMPV strains. The variations were not directly related to HMPV genotypes, cell lines used for isolation and propagation, specific genome mutations, or nucleotide duplications in the G gene. Thus, these variations in suboptimal cell lines are likely intrinsic to particular HMPV strains.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete genome sequence of a novel bacteriophage, PBKP05, infecting Klebsiella pneumoniae.

An increasing number of Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates have been found to be multi-drug resistant. A novel bacteriophage, PBKP05, which infects K. pneumoniae, was isolated and characterized. It has a linear double-stranded DNA genome of 30,240 base pairs in length. Its G+C content is 53%, and 47 putative open reading frames are functionally annotated. This phage can be a candidate material for phage therapy.


April 21, 2020  |  

Long-range PCR and high-throughput sequencing of Ostreid herpesvirus 1 indicate high genetic diversity and complex evolution process.

Ostreid herpesvirus 1 (OsHV-1) is an important pathogen associated with mass mortalities of cultivated marine mollusks worldwide. Since no cell line allows OsHV-1 replication in vitro, it is difficult to isolate enough high-purity viral DNA for High-Throughput Sequencing (HTS). We developed an efficient approach for the enrichment of OsHV-1 DNA for HTS with long-range PCR. Twenty-three primer pairs were designed to cover 99.3% of the reference genome, and their performances were examined on ten OsHV-1 infected samples. Amplicon mixtures from six successfully amplified samples were sequenced with Illumina platform, and one of them (ZK0118) was also sequenced with the PacBio platform. PacBio reads were assembled into 2 scaffolds compared to 9-68 scaffolds assembled from the Illumina reads. Genomic comparison confirmed high genetic diversity among OsHV-1 variants. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that OsHV-1 evolution was mainly impacted by its host species rather than spatial segregation. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Long-Read Sequencing – A Powerful Tool in Viral Transcriptome Research.

Long-read sequencing (LRS) has become increasingly popular due to its strengths in de novo assembly and in resolving complex DNA regions as well as in determining full-length RNA molecules. Two important LRS technologies have been developed during the past few years, including single-molecule, real-time sequencing by Pacific Biosciences, and nanopore sequencing by Oxford Nanopore Technologies. Although current LRS methods produce lower coverage, and are more error prone than short-read sequencing, these methods continue to be superior in identifying transcript isoforms including multispliced RNAs and transcript-length variants as well as overlapping transcripts and alternative polycistronic RNA molecules. Viruses have small, compact genomes and therefore these organisms are ideal subjects for transcriptome analysis with the relatively low-throughput LRS techniques. Recent LRS studies have multiplied the number of previously known transcripts and have revealed complex networks of transcriptional overlaps in the examined viruses.Copyright © 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.


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