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Publications in peer reviewed journals

2 Publications found
  • Coral-associated viral communities show high levels of diversity and host auxiliary functions.

    Weynberg KD, Laffy PW, Wood-Charlson EM, Turaev D, Rattei T, Webster NS, van Oppen MJH
    2017 - PeerJ, e4054


    Stony corals (Scleractinia) are marine invertebrates that form the foundation and framework upon which tropical reefs are built. The coral animal associates with a diverse microbiome comprised of dinoflagellate algae and other protists, bacteria, archaea, fungi and viruses. Using a metagenomics approach, we analysed the DNA and RNA viral assemblages of seven coral species from the central Great Barrier Reef (GBR), demonstrating that tailed bacteriophages of the Caudovirales dominate across all species examined, and ssDNA viruses, notably the Microviridae, are also prevalent. Most sequences with matches to eukaryotic viruses were assigned to six viral families, including four Nucleocytoplasmic Large DNA Viruses (NCLDVs) families: Iridoviridae, Phycodnaviridae, Mimiviridae, and Poxviridae, as well as Retroviridae and Polydnaviridae. Contrary to previous findings, Herpesvirales were rare in these GBR corals. Sequences of a ssRNA virus with similarities to the dinornavirus, Heterocapsa circularisquama ssRNA virus of the Alvernaviridae that infects free-living dinoflagellates, were observed in three coral species. We also detected viruses previously undescribed from the coral holobiont, including a virus that targets fungi associated with the coral species Acropora tenuis. Functional analysis of the assembled contigs indicated a high prevalence of latency-associated genes in the coral-associated viral assemblages, several host-derived auxiliary metabolic genes (AMGs) for photosynthesis (psbA, psbD genes encoding the photosystem II D1 and D2 proteins respectively), as well as potential nematocyst toxins and antioxidants (genes encoding green fluorescent-like chromoprotein). This study expands the currently limited knowledge on coral-associated viruses by characterising viral composition and function across seven GBR coral species.

  • Viruses comprise an extensive pool of mobile genetic elements in eukaryote cell cultures and human clinical samples.

    Thannesberger J, Hellinger HJ, Klymiuk I, Kastner MT, Rieder FJ, Schneider M, Fister S, Lion T, Kosulin K, Laengle J, Bergmann M, Rattei T, Steininger C
    2017 - FASEB J., in press


    Viruses shape a diversity of ecosystems by modulating their microbial, eukaryotic, or plant host metabolism. The complexity of virus-host interaction networks is progressively fathomed by novel metagenomic approaches. By using a novel metagenomic method, we explored the virome in mammalian cell cultures and clinical samples to identify an extensive pool of mobile genetic elements in all of these ecosystems. Despite aseptic treatment, cell cultures harbored extensive and diverse phage populations with a high abundance of as yet unknown and uncharacterized viruses (viral dark matter). Unknown phages also predominated in the oropharynx and urine of healthy individuals and patients infected with cytomegalovirus despite demonstration of active cytomegalovirus replication. The novelty of viral sequences correlated primarily with the individual evaluated, whereas relative abundance of encoded protein functions was associated with the ecologic niches probed. Together, these observations demonstrate the extensive presence of viral dark matter in human and artificial ecosystems.-Thannesberger, J., Hellinger, H.-J., Klymiuk, I., Kastner, M.-T., Rieder, F. J. J., Schneider, M., Fister, S., Lion, T., Kosulin, K., Laengle, J., Bergmann, M., Rattei, T., Steininger, C. Viruses comprise an extensive pool of mobile genetic elements in eukaryote cell cultures and human clinical samples.

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