Virus Satellites Drive Viral Evolution and Ecology


Satellites are defined as viruses that have a life cycle dependent on a helper virus. Thus, they can be considered as parasites of parasites. In addition to their fascinating life cycle, these widespread infectious elements, present both in eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells, have a dramatic role in virulence by controlling the symptoms induced by their eukaryotic helper viruses or by encoding key bacterial virulence genes. While satellites can play an important role in the ecology of the viruses they parasitise, the evolutionary impact on their helper viruses is unclear. Here we show that staphylococcal pathogenicity islands (SaPIs), an example of a virus satellite, are a major selective force on the viruses (bacteriophages) they parasitise. Using both bioinformatic and experimental evolution data we have been able to confirm that pathogenicity islands are a major selective pressure enhancing the diversity of both genes and gene content in Staphylococcus aureus phages. Since SaPIs exploit the life cycle of their helper phages to enable their rapid replication and promiscuous spread, these strategies are mechanisms that reduce SaPI interference, thus facilitating the infectivity and dissemination of the helper phages in nature.


Vyšlo v časopise: Virus Satellites Drive Viral Evolution and Ecology. PLoS Genet 11(10): e32767. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005609
Kategorie: Research Article
prolekare.web.journal.doi_sk: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005609

Souhrn

Satellites are defined as viruses that have a life cycle dependent on a helper virus. Thus, they can be considered as parasites of parasites. In addition to their fascinating life cycle, these widespread infectious elements, present both in eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells, have a dramatic role in virulence by controlling the symptoms induced by their eukaryotic helper viruses or by encoding key bacterial virulence genes. While satellites can play an important role in the ecology of the viruses they parasitise, the evolutionary impact on their helper viruses is unclear. Here we show that staphylococcal pathogenicity islands (SaPIs), an example of a virus satellite, are a major selective force on the viruses (bacteriophages) they parasitise. Using both bioinformatic and experimental evolution data we have been able to confirm that pathogenicity islands are a major selective pressure enhancing the diversity of both genes and gene content in Staphylococcus aureus phages. Since SaPIs exploit the life cycle of their helper phages to enable their rapid replication and promiscuous spread, these strategies are mechanisms that reduce SaPI interference, thus facilitating the infectivity and dissemination of the helper phages in nature.


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