Navigation Links
When viruses infect bacteria
Date:7/1/2011

Viruses are the most abundant parasites on Earth. Well known viruses, such as the flu virus, attack human hosts, while viruses such as the tobacco mosaic virus infect plant hosts.

More common, but less understood, are cases of viruses infecting bacteria known as bacteriophages, or phages. In part, this is due to the difficulty of culturing bacteria and viruses that have been cut off from their usual biological surroundings in a process called in vitro.

Researchers from the California Institute of Technology, funded in part by the National Science Foundation, were the first to use a clever technique to look at virus-bacterium interactions in vivo, that is, within an organism's normal state. The researchers report their results in the July 1st issue of the journal, Science.

As a test case, Rob Phillips and his team considered the interaction between viruses and bacteria in the hindgut, or posterior part, of a termite. Using new microfluidic technology, they were able to isolate single bacterial cells from the termite hindgut in six-nanoliter chambers on an array containing 765 such chambers.

They were then able to determine whether the chambers contained bacterial DNA, viral DNA or both. In the latter case, the researchers were able to statistically deduce whether the virus was specifically associated with the host--for example, by attaching to the host, shooting its DNA into the host, being incorporated into the host as a prophage (a viral genome inserted and integrated into the bacterial DNA), riding on a plasmid or by assembling new viruses within the host. And through this snapshot, the group recorded virus-bacterium associations.

Frequently there was a one-to-one virus-bacterium correspondence. However in some cases, the host was associated with a viral gene exhibiting marked diversity, suggesting possibly a more ancient infection, a more susceptible host or a phage replicating at a lower fidelity. By analyzing the bacteria and viruses based on their evolutionary development they were able to deduce that horizontal gene transfer, while it may be occurring, is not occurring at a rate high enough to randomize host-virus associations.

This study was by no means exhaustive. Many similar associations may still be found in the termite hindgut. And further inquiry may lead to a better understanding of the coevolution of a virus and its host. However, this was the first in vivo exercise, and it opens the doors of the field much wider than previously possible through in vitro culture alone.


'/>"/>

Contact: Maria C. Zacharias
mzachari@nsf.gov
703-292-8454
National Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. A planet of viruses
2. David and Goliath viruses shed light on the origin of jumping genes: UBC study
3. Using artificial, cell-like honey pots to entrap deadly viruses
4. Drug to fight tumors also fights the flu and possibly other viruses
5. Macavity wasnt there! How absent reoviruses kill cancer
6. Movement and threat of RNA viruses widespread in pollinator community
7. Ph.D. thesis describes 35 hitherto unknown families of endogenous retroviruses
8. Scientists reveal important clues to how bacteria and viruses are identified as enemies
9. Visualizing viruses: new research pinpoints tiny invaders
10. Novel antisense therapies protect primates from lethal Ebola and Marburg viruses
11. UT professor uncovers clues into how viruses jump from hosts
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
When viruses infect bacteria
(Date:2/8/2016)... , February 8, 2016 ... platform which presents innovation for clients, comfort and ... called VoiceKey. --> Worldcore is ... innovation for clients, comfort and unbeatable security, with ... --> Worldcore is the first ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... , February 3, 2016 ... new market research report "Automated Fingerprint Identification System Market ... Latent Search), Application (Banking & Finance, Government, Healthcare, and ... by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to be worth ... of 21.0% between 2015 and 2020. The transformation and ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... This BCC Research report provides a ... the recent advances in high throughput ‘omic platforms ... forward. Includes forecast through 2019. Use ... opportunities that exist in the bioinformatic market. Analyze ... well as IT and bioinformatics service providers. Analyze ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... -- Spectra BioPharma Selling Solutions (Spectra) is a new ... the experience, expertise, operational delivery and customer focus ... Created in concert with industry leading commercial experts, ... tactical needs of its clients by providing value-based ... and non-personal promotion. --> ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... Feb. 11, 2016   BioInformant announces the ... Cell Research Products, Opportunities, Tools, and Technologies – Market ... The first ... stem cell industry, BioInformant has more than a decade ... cell market, by stem cell type. This powerful 175 ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... 2016 Early-career researchers from ... , Uganda and Yemen ... and nutrition   Indonesia , Nepal ... and Yemen are being honored for their accomplishments ... also celebrated for mentoring young women scientists who are pursuing careers in ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... -- IsoRay, Inc. (NYSE MKT: ISR), a medical technology company ... for the treatment of prostate, brain, lung, head and ... for the second quarter and six months of fiscal ... --> --> Revenue was $1.19 ... ended December 31, 2015, a 12% increase compared to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: