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Noda-like RNA viruses infecting Caenorhabditis nematodes: sympatry, diversity and reassortment

By Lise Frézal, Hyeim Jung, Stephen Tahan, David Wang, Marie-Anne Félix

Posted 12 Apr 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/605840 (published DOI: 10.1128/JVI.01170-19)

Three RNA viruses related to nodaviruses were previously described to naturally infect the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and its relative C. briggsae. Here we report on a collection of over 50 viral variants from wild-caught Caenorhabditis. We describe the discovery of a new related virus, the Mělník virus, infecting C. briggsae, which similarly infects intestinal cells. In France, a frequent pattern of co-infection of C. briggsae by the Santeuil virus and Le Blanc virus was observed at the level of an individual nematode and even a single cell. We do not find evidence of reassortment between the RNA1 and RNA2 molecules of Santeuil and Le Blanc viruses. However, by studying patterns of evolution of each virus, reassortments of RNA1 and RNA2 among variants of each virus were identified. We develop assays to test the relative potency and competitive ability of the viral variants and detect an interaction between host genotype and Santeuil virus genotype, such that the result of the competition depends on the host strain.

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