Description of viral assemblages associated with the Gorgonia ventalina holobiont
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The diversity and function of viruses in coral holobionts has only recently received attention. The non-reef building gorgonian octocoral, Gorgonia ventalina, is a major constituent of Caribbean reefs. We investigated viral communities associated with G. ventalina tissues to understand their role in gorgonian ecology. Pyrosequencing was used to prepare a total of 514,632 sequence reads of DNA- and RNA-based mixed-community viral genomes (metaviromes). RNA viral assemblages were comprised of primarily unidentifiable reads, with most matching host transcripts and other RNA metaviromes. DNA metaviromes were similar between healthy and diseased tissues and comprised of contiguous sequences (contigs) that matched primarily metazoan and bacterial proteins. Only ~5% of contigs matched viral proteins that were primarily cyanophage and viruses of Chlorella and Ostreococcus. Our results confirm that DNA and RNA viruses comprise a component of the gorgonian holobiont, suggesting that they may play a role in the ecology of G. ventalina.
KeywordsVirus Metavirome Gorgonian Community
The authors are grateful to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Viral Sequencing Initiative for DNA metaviromic sequencing. The authors thank N. Douglas, D. Doud, S. Gitlin and J. Barbosa for assistance in conducting laboratory preparation of metaviromes and E. Weil for assistance in sample collection. Helpful comments on interpretation of metaviromes were provided by E. Wommack. This work was supported by NSF grants OCE-0961894, OCE-1049670, DEB-1028898 and Federal Formula Funds grant NYS-189489 awarded to IH, OCE-0849799 to CDH, and the Cornell Biogeochemistry and Environmental Biocomplexity Initiative.
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