Adaptation to sub-optimal hosts is a driver of viral diversification in the ocean.
ABSTRACT: Cyanophages of the Myoviridae family include generalist viruses capable of infecting a wide range of hosts including those from different cyanobacterial genera. While the influence of phages on host evolution has been studied previously, it is not known how the infection of distinct hosts influences the evolution of cyanophage populations. Here, using an experimental evolution approach, we investigated the adaptation of multiple cyanophage populations to distinct cyanobacterial hosts. We show that when infecting an "optimal" host, whose infection is the most efficient, phage populations accumulated only a few mutations. However, when infecting "sub-optimal" hosts, different mutations spread in the phage populations, leading to rapid diversification into distinct subpopulations. Based on our results, we propose a model demonstrating how shifts in microbial abundance, which lead to infection of "sub-optimal" hosts, act as a driver for rapid diversification of viral populations.
PROVIDER: S-EPMC6224464 | BioStudies |