Metagenomic identification, seasonal dynamics, and potential transmission mechanisms of a Daphnia-associated single-stranded DNA virus in two temperate lakes

Ian Hewson, Gabriel Ng, WenFang Li, Brenna A. LaBarre, Isabel Aguirre, Jorge G. Barbosa, Mya Breitbart, Anthony W. Greco, Colleen M. Kearns, Alexander Looi, Lindsay R. Schaffner, Philip D. Thompson and Nelson G. Hairston Jr

Limnol. Oceanogr., 58(5), 2013, 1605-1620 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2013.58.5.1605

ABSTRACT: We used a metagenomic approach to identify viruses that may be involved in the ecology of Daphnia spp. in Oneida and Cayuga lakes (upstate New York). We identified several highly represented, putative eukaryotic, circular, single-stranded deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) viral genomes. Among these, we discovered a genotype similar in both sequence and genomic architecture to a virus previously reported from a hyperthermal lake that shares characteristics of both single-stranded ribonucleic acid (RNA) and single-stranded DNA viruses. We used quantitative polymerase chain reactions to study the prevalence and viral load of both positive-sense and negative-sense strands of the Daphnia mendotae–associated (Cladocera) hybrid virus (DMClaHV) over a summer season in Oneida and Cayuga lakes. DMClaHV had high prevalence within Daphnia populations, where viral load and the proportion of virus-positive individuals were higher preceding host population decline. DMClaHV viral load was different between two species of Daphnia (D. mendotae and D. retrocurva), and the dynamics between viruses and their hosts varied between the two lakes. We detected DMClaHV in eggs (ephippia) retrieved from Oneida Lake sediments with an estimated age of 30 yr. Using transmission electron microscopy, we observed small (20 nm diameter) virus-like particles in Daphnia that were well away from gut tissues and not associated with intracellular parasites. Because Daphnia plays a critical role in many lake ecosystems, DMClaHV may have important effects on herbivory and thus carbon flow through the lake ecosystem.

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