Abundance and morphology of virus-like particles associated with the coral Acropora hyacinthus differ between healthy and white syndrome-infected states

Pollock, F. Joseph, Wood-Charlson, Elisha M., van Oppen, Madeleine J.H., Bourne, David G., Willis, Bette L., and Weynberg, Karen D. (2014) Abundance and morphology of virus-like particles associated with the coral Acropora hyacinthus differ between healthy and white syndrome-infected states. Marine Ecology - Progress Series, 510. pp. 39-43.

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Abstract

Disease outbreaks are implicated in coral reef degradation worldwide, but little is known about the role of viruses in coral health. In this study, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was employed in parallel with flow cytometry to compare viral communities associated with visually healthy and white syndrome (WS)-infected tissues of the coral Acropora hyacinthus at Lizard Island on Australia's northern Great Barrier Reef. Viral community shifts were observed on WS-infected corals that were characterized by higher abundance, smaller size and distinct morphology of virus-like particles (VLPs) on disease lesions relative to healthy tissues. Coral tissues displaying WS contained 65% more VLPs, with 87% of these falling in the sub-100 nm size range, compared to only 7% from healthy tissues. While the observed viral community shifts are not necessarily indicative of disease causation, they may provide diagnostic criteria to discriminate between distinct, but macroscopically similar, WS and WS-like coral diseases. Furthermore, these results highlight the need to incorporate virology in investigations of coral health and disease.

Item ID: 36221
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1616-1599
Keywords: virus, coral, disease, white syndromes, Great Barrier Reef
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), Lizard Island Research Station (LIRS)
Projects and Grants: ARC Super Science Fellowship, LIRS Fellowship
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2014 11:51
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0605 Microbiology > 060506 Virology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9604 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species > 960407 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species in Marine Environments @ 100%
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