Navigation Links
Viruses evolve to play by host rules, according to University of Pennsylvania researchers

PHILADELPHIA -- Biologists at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University have examined the complete genomes of viruses that infect the bacteria E. coli, P. aeruginosa and L. lactis and have found that many of these viral genomes exhibit codon bias, the tendency to preferentially encode a protein with a particular spelling.

Researchers analyzed patterns of codon usage across 74 bacteriophages using the concept of a "genome landscape," a method of visualizing long-range patterns in a genome sequence.

Their findings extend the translational theory of codon bias to the viral kingdom, demonstrating that the viral genome is selected to obey the preferences of its host.

The host bacterium is exerting a strong evolutionary pressure on the virus, Joshua Plotkin, lead author and assistant professor in the Department of Biology at Penn, said. This happens because a virus must hijack the machinery of its host in order to reproduce. We are seeing that viruses are forced to adopt the particular codon choices preferred by the bacterium they infect.

The study found that each bacterium has a preferred way of spelling its genes. And it appears that viruses that infect a bacterium spell their own genes in the same way the bacterium does, obeying the rules of its host and demonstrating co-evolutionary behavior.

Like a bee and a flower, an example of co-evolution between two large organisms, the same fundamental biological processes operate between two small organisms, as reflected in their genome sequences, Plotkin said.

Moreover, the team found that the degree of codon bias varies across the viral genome. By comparing the observed genomes to randomly drawn genomes, the team demonstrated that the regions of high codon bias in these viral genomes often coincide with regions encoding structural proteins. Thus, the proteins that a virus needs to produce at high levels utilize the same encoding as its host organism does for highly expressed proteins.

Any protein can be encoded by multiple, synonymous spellings, but organisms typically prefer one spelling over others, a phenomenon known as codon bias. Codon bias is generally understood to result from selection for the synonymous spelling that maximizes the rate and accuracy of protein production.


Contact: Jordan Reese
University of Pennsylvania

Related biology news :

1. Features of replication suggest viruses have common themes, vulnerabilities
2. Gamma globulin effective in treating eye infections caused by adenoviruses
3. Discovery may help defang viruses
4. Prions and retroviruses -- an unholy alliance?
5. Study proposes new theory of how viruses may contribute to cancer
6. Iowa State researchers develop technology for early detection of viruses
7. Yellowstone viruses jump between hot pools
8. Great apes endangered by human viruses
9. The Uukuniemi virus helps to explain the infection mechanism of bunyaviruses
10. MGH researchers describe new way to identify, evolve novel enzymes
11. New molecular clock from LLNL and CDC indicates smallpox evolved earlier than believed
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/18/2015)... new scientific discoveries deepen our understanding of how cancer ... challenges in better using that knowledge to guide treatment ... children continue to survive pediatric cancer, that counseling may ... John M. Maris, M.D ., a pediatric oncologist ... --> John M. Maris, M.D ., ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... EASTON, Mass. , Nov. 17, 2015 ... a leader in the development and sale of broadly ... the worldwide life sciences industry, today announced it has ... of its $5 million Private Placement (the "Offering"), increasing ... to $4,025,000.  One or more additional closings are expected ...
(Date:11/11/2015)... --  MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based eClinical technology company ... to announce that it will be a Sponsor of the ... be held November 17-19 in Hamburg , ... iMedNet , MedNet,s easy-to-use, proven and affordable ... been able to deliver time and cost savings of up ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 Cepheid (NASDAQ: CPHD ) ... the following conference, and invited investors to participate via ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. Eastern ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. Eastern ... New York, NY      Tuesday, December 1, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ:  AEZS) (TSX: AEZ) ... of the Toronto Stock Exchange, confirms that as of ... corporate developments that would cause the recent movements in ... --> About Aeterna Zentaris Inc. ... Aeterna Zentaris is a specialty biopharmaceutical company engaged ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... November 24, 2015 SHPG ) announced today ... the Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference in ... 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). --> ... Officer, will participate in the Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual ... on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Urdorf, Switzerland (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 ... ... the plant and the environment are paramount. Insertion points for in-line sensors can ... TOLEDO has developed the InTrac 781/784 series of retractable sensor housings , ...
Breaking Biology Technology: