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Competition-colonization dynamics in an RNA virus

AuthorsOjosnegros Martos, Samuel ; Beerenwinkelb, Niko; Antal, Tibor; Nowak, Martin A.; Escarmís, Cristina; Domingo, Esteban
Issue Date2-Feb-2010
PublisherNational Academy of Sciences (U.S.)
CitationProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 107 (5): 2108–2112 (2010)
AbstractDuring replication, RNA viruses rapidly generate diverse mutant progeny which differ in their ability to kill host cells. We report that the progeny of a single RNA viral genome diversified during hundreds of passages in cell culture and self-organized into two genetically distinct subpopulations that exhibited the competition-colonization dynamics previously recognized in many classical ecological systems. Viral colonizers alone were more efficient in killing cells than competitors in culture. In cells coinfected with both competitors and colonizers, viral interference resulted in reduced cell killing, and competitors replaced colonizers. Mathematical modeling of this coinfection dynamics predicted selection to be density dependent, which was confirmed experimentally. Thus, as is known for other ecological systems, biodiversity and even cell killing of virus populations can be shaped by a tradeoff between competition and colonization. Our results suggest a model for the evolution of virulence in viruses based on internal interactions within mutant spectra of viral quasispecies.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0909787107
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