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dc.contributor.authorBrüwer, Jan D
dc.contributor.authorVoolstra, Christian R.
dc.identifier.citationBrüwer, J. D., & Voolstra, C. R. (2017). Insights into viral community composition of the cnidarian model metaorganism Aiptasia using RNA-Seq data. doi:10.7287/peerj.preprints.3343v1
dc.description.abstractCurrent research posits that all multicellular organisms live in symbioses with associated microorganisms and form so-called metaorganisms or holobionts. Cnidarian metaorganisms are of specific interest given that stony corals provide the foundation of the globally threatened coral reef ecosystems and their well-being strongly relies on forming mutualistic relationships with endosymbiotic algae of the genus Symbiodinium. So far, only few studies characterized viral diversity and the potential underlying functional importance to coral holobionts. Here we analyzed an existing RNA-Seq dataset of the coral model metaorganism Aiptasia CC7 (sensu Exaiptasia pallida) associated with aposymbiotic, partially populated, and fully symbiotic anemones with Symbiodinium to gain further insight into viral community composition and the relation to the algal endosymbiosis. Our approach included the selective removal of anemone host and algal endosymbiont sequences and subsequent microbial sequence annotation. Of a total of 297 million raw sequence reads, 8.6 million (~ 3%) remained after host and endosymbiont sequence removal. Of these, 3,293 sequences (paired-end read pairs) could be assigned as of viral origin. Taxonomic annotation shows that Aiptasia is associated with a diverse viral community consisting of 116 viral taxa covering 40 families. The viral community was dominated by viruses from the families Herpesviridae (12.00%), Partitiviridae (9.93%), and Picornaviridae (9.87%). Despite an overall stable viral community, we found that some viral taxa significantly changed in relative abundance when Aiptasia engage in a symbiotic relationship with Symbiodinium. Elucidation of viral taxa consistently present in all samples revealed an Aiptasia core virome of 15 viral taxa from 11 viral families that was comprised of many viruses previously reported in coral viromes. Our study provides a first insight into the viral community of Aiptasia. Aiptasia seem to harbor a diverse and overall stable viral community, although certain members change in abundance when the anemone host associates with its algal endosymbiont. However, the functional significance of this remains to be determined.
dc.description.sponsorshipJDB was funded by a Visiting Student Research Program (VSRP) fellowship awarded by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). Additional supported was provided by baseline funds from KAUST to CRV. The funders had no role in the design of the study and collection, analysis, and interpretation of data, and in writing the manuscript.
dc.rightsArchived with thanks to PeerJ
dc.titleInsights into viral community composition of the cnidarian model metaorganism Aiptasia using RNA-Seq data
dc.contributor.departmentBiological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering (BESE) Division
dc.contributor.departmentMarine Science Program
dc.contributor.departmentRed Sea Research Center (RSRC)
dc.contributor.departmentReef Genomics Lab
kaust.personBrüwer, Jan D
kaust.personVoolstra, Christian R.

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