Document Type

Technical Report

Date of this Version

2008

Publication Source

PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)

Volume

105

Issue

47

Start Page

18413

Last Page

18418

DOI

10.1073/pnas.0808985105

Abstract

During the last several decades corals have been in decline and at least one-third of all coral species are now threatened by extinction. Coral disease has been a major contributor to this threat, but little is known about the responsible pathogens. To date most research has focused on bacterial and fungal diseases; however, viruses may also be important for coral health. Using a combination of empirical viral metagenomics and real-time PCR, we show that Porites compressa corals contain a suite of eukaryotic viruses, many related to the Herpesviridae. This coral-associated viral consortium was found to shift in response to abiotic stressors. In particular, when exposed to reduced pH, elevated nutrients, and thermal stress, the abundance of herpes-like viral sequences rapidly increased in 2 separate experiments. Herpes-like viral sequences were rarely detected in apparently healthy corals, but were abundant in a majority of stressed samples. In addition, surveys of the Nematostella and Hydra genomic projects demonstrate that even distantly related Cnidarians contain numerous herpes-like viral genes, likely as a result of latent or endogenous viral infection. These data support the hypotheses that corals experience viral infections, which are exacerbated by stress, and that herpes-like viruses are common in Cnidarians.

Copyright/Permission Statement

© 2008 National Academy of Sciences.

Comments

At the time of this publication Dr. Barott was affiliated with San Diego State University, but she is now a faculty member of the University of Pennsylvania.

Keywords

coral reefs, disease, Herpesviridae, viral-like particles, virome

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Date Posted: 04 October 2017

This document has been peer reviewed.