Evolutionary History and Attenuation of Myxoma Virus on Two Continents

Peter J. Kerr, Elodie Ghedin, Jay V. DePasse, Adam Fitch, Isabella M. Cattadori, Peter J. Hudson, David C. Tscharke, Andrew F. Read, Edward C. Holmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The attenuation of myxoma virus (MYXV) following its introduction as a biological control into the European rabbit populations of Australia and Europe is the canonical study of the evolution of virulence. However, the evolutionary genetics of this profound change in host-pathogen relationship is unknown. We describe the genome-scale evolution of MYXV covering a range of virulence grades sampled over 49 years from the parallel Australian and European epidemics, including the high-virulence progenitor strains released in the early 1950s. MYXV evolved rapidly over the sampling period, exhibiting one of the highest nucleotide substitution rates ever reported for a double-stranded DNA virus, and indicative of a relatively high mutation rate and/or a continually changing selective environment. Our comparative sequence data reveal that changes in virulence involved multiple genes, likely losses of gene function due to insertion-deletion events, and no mutations common to specific virulence grades. Hence, despite the similarity in selection pressures there are multiple genetic routes to attain either highly virulent or attenuated phenotypes in MYXV, resulting in convergence for phenotype but not genotype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1002950
JournalPLoS Pathogens
Volume8
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2012

Fingerprint

Myxoma virus
Virulence
History
Phenotype
DNA Viruses
Mutation Rate
Genes
Nucleotides
Genotype
Genome
Rabbits
Pressure
Mutation
DNA
Population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Parasitology
  • Virology
  • Immunology
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology

Cite this

Kerr, P. J., Ghedin, E., DePasse, J. V., Fitch, A., Cattadori, I. M., Hudson, P. J., ... Holmes, E. C. (2012). Evolutionary History and Attenuation of Myxoma Virus on Two Continents. PLoS Pathogens, 8(10), [e1002950]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1002950

Evolutionary History and Attenuation of Myxoma Virus on Two Continents. / Kerr, Peter J.; Ghedin, Elodie; DePasse, Jay V.; Fitch, Adam; Cattadori, Isabella M.; Hudson, Peter J.; Tscharke, David C.; Read, Andrew F.; Holmes, Edward C.

In: PLoS Pathogens, Vol. 8, No. 10, e1002950, 10.2012.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kerr, PJ, Ghedin, E, DePasse, JV, Fitch, A, Cattadori, IM, Hudson, PJ, Tscharke, DC, Read, AF & Holmes, EC 2012, 'Evolutionary History and Attenuation of Myxoma Virus on Two Continents', PLoS Pathogens, vol. 8, no. 10, e1002950. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1002950
Kerr, Peter J. ; Ghedin, Elodie ; DePasse, Jay V. ; Fitch, Adam ; Cattadori, Isabella M. ; Hudson, Peter J. ; Tscharke, David C. ; Read, Andrew F. ; Holmes, Edward C. / Evolutionary History and Attenuation of Myxoma Virus on Two Continents. In: PLoS Pathogens. 2012 ; Vol. 8, No. 10.
@article{b1777adac3c241efaecfded85d307710,
title = "Evolutionary History and Attenuation of Myxoma Virus on Two Continents",
abstract = "The attenuation of myxoma virus (MYXV) following its introduction as a biological control into the European rabbit populations of Australia and Europe is the canonical study of the evolution of virulence. However, the evolutionary genetics of this profound change in host-pathogen relationship is unknown. We describe the genome-scale evolution of MYXV covering a range of virulence grades sampled over 49 years from the parallel Australian and European epidemics, including the high-virulence progenitor strains released in the early 1950s. MYXV evolved rapidly over the sampling period, exhibiting one of the highest nucleotide substitution rates ever reported for a double-stranded DNA virus, and indicative of a relatively high mutation rate and/or a continually changing selective environment. Our comparative sequence data reveal that changes in virulence involved multiple genes, likely losses of gene function due to insertion-deletion events, and no mutations common to specific virulence grades. Hence, despite the similarity in selection pressures there are multiple genetic routes to attain either highly virulent or attenuated phenotypes in MYXV, resulting in convergence for phenotype but not genotype.",
author = "Kerr, {Peter J.} and Elodie Ghedin and DePasse, {Jay V.} and Adam Fitch and Cattadori, {Isabella M.} and Hudson, {Peter J.} and Tscharke, {David C.} and Read, {Andrew F.} and Holmes, {Edward C.}",
year = "2012",
month = "10",
doi = "10.1371/journal.ppat.1002950",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "8",
journal = "PLoS Pathogens",
issn = "1553-7366",
publisher = "Public Library of Science",
number = "10",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Evolutionary History and Attenuation of Myxoma Virus on Two Continents

AU - Kerr, Peter J.

AU - Ghedin, Elodie

AU - DePasse, Jay V.

AU - Fitch, Adam

AU - Cattadori, Isabella M.

AU - Hudson, Peter J.

AU - Tscharke, David C.

AU - Read, Andrew F.

AU - Holmes, Edward C.

PY - 2012/10

Y1 - 2012/10

N2 - The attenuation of myxoma virus (MYXV) following its introduction as a biological control into the European rabbit populations of Australia and Europe is the canonical study of the evolution of virulence. However, the evolutionary genetics of this profound change in host-pathogen relationship is unknown. We describe the genome-scale evolution of MYXV covering a range of virulence grades sampled over 49 years from the parallel Australian and European epidemics, including the high-virulence progenitor strains released in the early 1950s. MYXV evolved rapidly over the sampling period, exhibiting one of the highest nucleotide substitution rates ever reported for a double-stranded DNA virus, and indicative of a relatively high mutation rate and/or a continually changing selective environment. Our comparative sequence data reveal that changes in virulence involved multiple genes, likely losses of gene function due to insertion-deletion events, and no mutations common to specific virulence grades. Hence, despite the similarity in selection pressures there are multiple genetic routes to attain either highly virulent or attenuated phenotypes in MYXV, resulting in convergence for phenotype but not genotype.

AB - The attenuation of myxoma virus (MYXV) following its introduction as a biological control into the European rabbit populations of Australia and Europe is the canonical study of the evolution of virulence. However, the evolutionary genetics of this profound change in host-pathogen relationship is unknown. We describe the genome-scale evolution of MYXV covering a range of virulence grades sampled over 49 years from the parallel Australian and European epidemics, including the high-virulence progenitor strains released in the early 1950s. MYXV evolved rapidly over the sampling period, exhibiting one of the highest nucleotide substitution rates ever reported for a double-stranded DNA virus, and indicative of a relatively high mutation rate and/or a continually changing selective environment. Our comparative sequence data reveal that changes in virulence involved multiple genes, likely losses of gene function due to insertion-deletion events, and no mutations common to specific virulence grades. Hence, despite the similarity in selection pressures there are multiple genetic routes to attain either highly virulent or attenuated phenotypes in MYXV, resulting in convergence for phenotype but not genotype.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84868090378&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84868090378&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1371/journal.ppat.1002950

DO - 10.1371/journal.ppat.1002950

M3 - Article

VL - 8

JO - PLoS Pathogens

JF - PLoS Pathogens

SN - 1553-7366

IS - 10

M1 - e1002950

ER -