Virology, Nebraska Center for


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Rowe JM, Jeanniard A, Gurnon JR, Xia Y, Dunigan DD, et al. (2014) Global Analysis of Chlorella variabilis NC64A mRNA Profiles during the Early Phase of Paramecium bursaria Chlorella Virus-1 Infection. PLoS ONE 9(3): e90988. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0090988


The PBCV-1/Chlorella variabilis NC64A system is a model for studies on interactions between viruses and algae. Here we present the first global analyses of algal host transcripts during the early stages of infection, prior to virus replication. During the course of the experiment stretching over 1 hour, about a third of the host genes displayed significant changes in normalized mRNA abundance that either increased or decreased compared to uninfected levels. The population of genes with significant transcriptional changes gradually increased until stabilizing at 40 minutes post infection. Functional categories including cytoplasmic ribosomal proteins, jasmonic acid biosynthesis and anaphase promoting complex/ cyclosomes had a significant excess in upregulated genes, whereas spliceosomal snRNP complexes and the shikimate pathway had significantly more down-regulated genes, suggesting that these pathways were activated or shut-down in response to the virus infection. Lastly, we examined the expression of C. varibilis RNA polymerase subunits, as PBCV-1 transcription depends on host RNA polymerases. Two subunits were up-regulated, RPB10 and RPC34, suggesting that they may function to support virus transcription. These results highlight genes and pathways, as well as overall trends, for further refinement of our understanding of the changes that take place during the early stages of viral infection.