Navigation Links
Viruses: More survival tricks than previously thought
Date:3/5/2013

Among eukaryotes with modified nuclear genetic codes, viruses are unknown. Until now it had been believed that the modifications to the genetic code effectively prevented new viral infections. However, researchers have now reported the first example of a virus that can be shown to have crossed the boundary from organisms using the standard genetic code to those with an alternate genetic code.

"The finding is significant because it means that virus-host co-evolution after a genetic code shift can be more extensive than previously thought", said researcher Derek J. Taylor, professor of biological sciences at the University at Buffalo.

"It shows that these viruses can overcome what appears to be an insurmountable change in the host genome," Taylor said. "So the fact that we haven't previously seen any viruses in these species with a modified genetic code may not be because the viruses can't adapt to that shift. It may be that we haven't looked hard enough."

The study, titled "Virus-host co-evolution under a modified nuclear genetic code," was published on Tuesday, March 5th in PeerJ, a peer-reviewed, open-access journal in which all articles are freely available (https://PeerJ.com). The team of scientists, all from the University of Buffalo, discovered the highly adapted virus a totivirus in the yeast species Scheffersomyces segobiensis (a distant relative of human pathogens in the genus Candida).

In most living things, the genetic code comprises 64 elements called codons, most of which instruct the body to produce a certain amino acid, the basic building block of a protein. In S. segobiensis, however, the genetic code has been modified - a codon that usually stands for the amino acid leucine codes instead for serine (an amino acid change that can affect how proteins function). It had been thought that such a radical change in the genome may help host species evade viruses.

However, the presence of the totivirus in S. segobiensis shows that viruses may be more nimble than previously thought, able to overcome even this enormous hurdle. Intriguingly, the totivirus the researchers discovered has only one C-U-G codon left in its genome, suggesting that it may have purged that sequence as it adapted to the yeast host.

The research team found other odd and interesting evidence pointing to a history of co-evolution between totiviruses and yeasts with the modified code. For instance, the modified yeasts appeared to have incorporated genetic material from totiviruses into their genomes on at least four occasions. In total, evidence was found of past, or present, viral infection in five lineages of yeasts with a modified genetic code.

In the yeast Scheffersomyces stipitis, the scientists even identified a former totivirus gene that the host is now using to produce a protein.

"It's a non-retroviral RNA virus gene being kidnapped and expressed as a protein by a cellular host in the absence of a current viral infection" Taylor said. The function of this protein is unknown, but the result is further evidence of the unexpected co-evolution between viruses and hosts with modified nuclear code.


'/>"/>
Contact: Derek Taylor
djtaylor@buffalo.edu
716-645-2880
PeerJ
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Do-it-yourself viruses: How viruses self assemble
2. Impact of stem cell transplantation location in brain a crucial factor for cell survival
3. Survival of the fittest: Predator wasps breed at the expense of spider juveniles
4. Immune cell survival gene key to better myeloma treatments
5. Survival of the prettiest: Sexual selection can be inferred from the fossil record
6. TGen, Scottsdale Healthcare study shows drug combination extends pancreatic cancer patient survival
7. Heat-resistant corals provide clues to climate change survival
8. Nutrient-sensing enzymes key to starvation response and survival in newborn mammals
9. Violence in Mali threatening survival of endangered elephants
10. Eating right key to survival of whales and dolphins: UBC research
11. Climate change threatens giant pandas bamboo buffet -- and survival
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/5/2016)... Dec. 5, 2016  The Office of Justice ... "Can CT Scans Enhance or Replace Medico Legal ... of supporting or replacing forensic autopsies with postmortem ... In response to recommendations made by ... using CT scans as a potential component of ...
(Date:11/30/2016)...  higi SH llc (higi) announced today the ... brands, industry thought-leaders and celebrity influencers looking to ... taking steps to live healthier, more active lives. ... has built the largest self-screening health station network ... who have conducted over 185 million biometric screenings.  ...
(Date:11/28/2016)... 2016 "The biometric system ... The biometric system market is in the growth ... near future. The biometric system market is expected to ... a CAGR of 16.79% between 2016 and 2022. Government ... technology in smartphones, rising use of biometric technology in ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/7/2016)... 7, 2016  Genprex, Inc. a biopharmaceutical company ... treatments, today announced that it has retained ICR ... strategic communications and advisory firm, to develop and ... will combine investor relations, public relations and digital ... profile of Genprex and its lead candidate Oncoprex, ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... DIEGO , December 7, 2016 ... in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences a team of ... 1 ] have demonstrated that expression of NR2F6 ...  These scientists tested for NR2F6 in patient,s cervical cancer tissue ... their tumors. "This is an interesting study and ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... JULABO USA is ... cart. The new website has been designed to provide the best user-friendly experience ... to access detailed product information, read educational industry content as well as share ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... , Dec. 6, 2016 The American Botanical ... adoption of arnica ( Arnica montana ) through ... ABC,s HerbMedPro database, a comprehensive, interactive ... and clinical research data on the uses and ... Naturopathica, a wellness company with healing ...
Breaking Biology Technology: