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Differences in Accumulation and Virulence Determine the Outcome of Competition during Tobacco etch virus Coinfection

AutorLafforgue, Guillaume ; Sardanyés, Josep ; Elena, Santiago F.
Palabras claveParasite virulence
Experimental evolution
Local adaptation
Spore production
Fecha de publicación15-mar-2011
EditorPublic Library of Science
CitaciónPlos One 6/3:e17917 (2011)
ResumenUnderstanding the evolution of virulence for RNA viruses is essential for developing appropriate control strategies. Although it has been usually assumed that virulence is a consequence of within-host replication of the parasite, viral strains may be highly virulent without experiencing large accumulation as a consequence of immunopathological host responses. Using two strains of Tobacco etch potyvirus (TEV) that show a negative relationship between virulence and accumulation rate, we first explored the evolution of virulence and fitness traits during simple and mixed infections. Short-term evolution experiments initiated with each strain independently confirmed the genetic and evolutionary stability of virulence and viral load, although infectivity significantly increased for both strains. Second, competition experiments between hypo- and hypervirulent TEV strains have shown that the outcome of competition is driven by differences in replication rate. A simple mathematical model has been developed to analyze the dynamics of these two strains during coinfection. The model qualitatively reproduced the experimental results using biologically meaningful parameters. Further analyses of the model also revealed a wide parametric region in which a low-fitness but hypovirulent virus can still outcompete a high-fitness but hypervirulent one. These results provide additional support to the observation that virulence and within-host replication may not necessarily be strongly tied in plant RNA viruses.
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