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      Natural and Experimental Infection of Caenorhabditis Nematodes by Novel Viruses Related to Nodaviruses

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          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.

          Abstract

          Novel viruses have been discovered in wild Caenorahbditis nematode isolates and can now be used to explore host antiviral pathways, nematode ecology, and host-pathogen co-evolution.

          Abstract

          An ideal model system to study antiviral immunity and host-pathogen co-evolution would combine a genetically tractable small animal with a virus capable of naturally infecting the host organism. The use of C. elegans as a model to define host-viral interactions has been limited by the lack of viruses known to infect nematodes. From wild isolates of C. elegans and C. briggsae with unusual morphological phenotypes in intestinal cells, we identified two novel RNA viruses distantly related to known nodaviruses, one infecting specifically C. elegans (Orsay virus), the other C. briggsae (Santeuil virus). Bleaching of embryos cured infected cultures demonstrating that the viruses are neither stably integrated in the host genome nor transmitted vertically. 0.2 µm filtrates of the infected cultures could infect cured animals. Infected animals continuously maintained viral infection for 6 mo (∼50 generations), demonstrating that natural cycles of horizontal virus transmission were faithfully recapitulated in laboratory culture. In addition to infecting the natural C. elegans isolate, Orsay virus readily infected laboratory C. elegans mutants defective in RNAi and yielded higher levels of viral RNA and infection symptoms as compared to infection of the corresponding wild-type N2 strain. These results demonstrated a clear role for RNAi in the defense against this virus. Furthermore, different wild C. elegans isolates displayed differential susceptibility to infection by Orsay virus, thereby affording genetic approaches to defining antiviral loci. This discovery establishes a bona fide viral infection system to explore the natural ecology of nematodes, host-pathogen co-evolution, the evolution of small RNA responses, and innate antiviral mechanisms.

          Author Summary

          The nematode C. elegans is a robust model organism that is broadly used in biology. It also has great potential for the study of host-microbe interactions, as it is possible to systematically knockout almost every gene in high-throughput fashion to examine the potential role of each gene in infection. While C. elegans has been successfully applied to the study of bacterial infections, only limited studies of antiviral responses have been possible since no virus capable of infecting any Caenorhabditis nematode in laboratory culture has previously been described. Here we report the discovery of natural viruses infecting wild isolates of C. elegans and its relative C. briggsae. These novel viruses are most closely related to the ssRNA nodaviruses, but have larger genomes than other described nodaviruses and clearly represent a new taxon of virus. We were able to use these viruses to infect a variety of laboratory nematode strains. We show that mutant worms defective in the RNA interference pathway, an antiviral system known to operate in a number of organisms, accumulate more viral RNA than wild type strains. The discovery of these viruses will enable further studies of host-virus interactions in C. elegans and the identification of other host mechanisms that counter viral infection.

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          Most cited references 33

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          Potent and specific genetic interference by double-stranded RNA in Caenorhabditis elegans.

           S Kostas,  A Fire,  S Xu (1998)
          Experimental introduction of RNA into cells can be used in certain biological systems to interfere with the function of an endogenous gene. Such effects have been proposed to result from a simple antisense mechanism that depends on hybridization between the injected RNA and endogenous messenger RNA transcripts. RNA interference has been used in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to manipulate gene expression. Here we investigate the requirements for structure and delivery of the interfering RNA. To our surprise, we found that double-stranded RNA was substantially more effective at producing interference than was either strand individually. After injection into adult animals, purified single strands had at most a modest effect, whereas double-stranded mixtures caused potent and specific interference. The effects of this interference were evident in both the injected animals and their progeny. Only a few molecules of injected double-stranded RNA were required per affected cell, arguing against stochiometric interference with endogenous mRNA and suggesting that there could be a catalytic or amplification component in the interference process.
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            The human genome browser at UCSC.

            As vertebrate genome sequences near completion and research refocuses to their analysis, the issue of effective genome annotation display becomes critical. A mature web tool for rapid and reliable display of any requested portion of the genome at any scale, together with several dozen aligned annotation tracks, is provided at http://genome.ucsc.edu. This browser displays assembly contigs and gaps, mRNA and expressed sequence tag alignments, multiple gene predictions, cross-species homologies, single nucleotide polymorphisms, sequence-tagged sites, radiation hybrid data, transposon repeats, and more as a stack of coregistered tracks. Text and sequence-based searches provide quick and precise access to any region of specific interest. Secondary links from individual features lead to sequence details and supplementary off-site databases. One-half of the annotation tracks are computed at the University of California, Santa Cruz from publicly available sequence data; collaborators worldwide provide the rest. Users can stably add their own custom tracks to the browser for educational or research purposes. The conceptual and technical framework of the browser, its underlying MYSQL database, and overall use are described. The web site currently serves over 50,000 pages per day to over 3000 different users.
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              Systematic functional analysis of the Caenorhabditis elegans genome using RNAi.

              A principal challenge currently facing biologists is how to connect the complete DNA sequence of an organism to its development and behaviour. Large-scale targeted-deletions have been successful in defining gene functions in the single-celled yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, but comparable analyses have yet to be performed in an animal. Here we describe the use of RNA interference to inhibit the function of approximately 86% of the 19,427 predicted genes of C. elegans. We identified mutant phenotypes for 1,722 genes, about two-thirds of which were not previously associated with a phenotype. We find that genes of similar functions are clustered in distinct, multi-megabase regions of individual chromosomes; genes in these regions tend to share transcriptional profiles. Our resulting data set and reusable RNAi library of 16,757 bacterial clones will facilitate systematic analyses of the connections among gene sequence, chromosomal location and gene function in C. elegans.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Academic Editor
                Journal
                PLoS Biol
                plos
                plosbiol
                PLoS Biology
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                1544-9173
                1545-7885
                January 2011
                January 2011
                25 January 2011
                : 9
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Institut Jacques Monod, CNRS-University of Paris-Diderot, Paris, France
                [2 ]Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
                [3 ]Departments of Molecular Microbiology and Pathology & Immunology, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America
                Oxford University, United Kingdom
                Author notes

                The author(s) have made the following declarations about their contributions: Conceived and designed the experiments: MAF EAM DW. Performed the experiments: MAF AA JP GW IN TB YJ CJF MS. Analyzed the data: MAF AA JP GW IN TB GZ CJF LDG MS EAM DW. Wrote the paper: MAF AA EAM DW.

                Article
                10-PLBI-RA-8820R2
                10.1371/journal.pbio.1000586
                3026760
                21283608
                Félix et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
                Page count
                Pages: 14
                Categories
                Research Article
                Ecology/Environmental Microbiology
                Immunology/Innate Immunity
                Virology
                Virology/Animal Models of Infection

                Life sciences

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