Adaptations of an RNA virus to increasing thermal stress.
Environments can change in incremental fashions, where a shift from one state to another occurs over multiple organismal generations. The rate of the environmental change is expected to influence how and how well populations adapt to the final environmental state. We used a model system, the lytic RNA bacteriophage Φ6, to investigate this question empirically. We evolved viruses for thermostability by exposing them to heat shocks that increased to a maximum temperature at different rates. We observed increases in the ability of many heat-shocked populations to survive high temperature heat shocks. On their first exposure to the highest temperature, populations that experienced a gradual increase in temperature had higher average survival than populations that experienced a rapid temperature increase. However, at the end of the experiment, neither the survival of populations at the highest temperature nor the number of mutations per population varied significantly according to the rate of thermal change. We also evaluated mutations from the endpoint populations for their effects on viral thermostability and growth. As expected, some mutations did increase viral thermostability. However, other mutations decreased thermostability but increased growth rate, suggesting that benefits of an increased replication rate may have sometimes outweighed the benefits of enhanced thermostability. Our study highlights the importance of considering the effects of multiple selective pressures, even in environments where a single factor changes.
Published In/Presented At
Singhal, S., Leon Guerrero, C. M., Whang, S. G., McClure, E. M., Busch, H. G., & Kerr, B. (2017). Adaptations of an RNA virus to increasing thermal stress. PloS one, 12(12), e0189602. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0189602
Medical Education | Medicine and Health Sciences
USF-LVHN SELECT Program, USF-LVHN SELECT Program Students