Metagenomic characterisation of viral communities in corals: Mining biological signal from methodological noise.
Environ Microbiol. 2015 Feb 24;
Authors: Wood-Charlson EM, Weynberg KD, Suttle CA, Roux S, van Oppen MJ
Reef-building corals form close associations with organisms from all three domains of life and therefore have many potential viral hosts. Yet, knowledge of viral communities associated with corals is barely explored. This complexity presents a number of challenges in terms of the metagenomic assessments of coral viral communities, and requires specialised methods for purification and amplification of viral nucleic acids, as well as virome annotation. In this mini-review, we conduct a meta-analysis of the limited number of existing coral virome studies, as well as available coral transcriptome and metagenome data, to identify trends and potential complications inherent in different methods. The analysis shows that the method used for viral nucleic acid isolation drastically affects the observed viral assemblage and interpretation of the results. Further, the small number of viral reference genomes available, coupled with short sequence read lengths might cause errors in virus identification. Despite these limitations and potential biases, the data show that viral communities associated with corals are diverse, with double- and single-stranded DNA and RNA viruses. The identified viruses are dominated by dsDNA-tailed bacteriophages, but there are also viruses that infect eukaryote hosts, likely the endosymbiotic dinoflagellates, Symbiodinium spp., host coral, and other eukaryotes in close association.
PMID: 25708646 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]