Evol Ecol Res 15: 567-578 (2013)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Pleiotropic interactions involving virulence and replication rate in experimentally evolved vesicular stomatitis virus

Lindsey W. McGee and Susanna K. Remold

Biology Department, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Correspondence: L.W. McGee, Biology Department, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292, USA.
e-mail: lewill08@gmail.com


Hypothesis: We hypothesize that natural selection in one cancer cell line results not only in increased replication rate and virulence in the selection host, but also increased replication rate and virulence in other novel hosts due to pleiotropy and a correlated response to selection.

Organisms: Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), a single stranded negative-sense RNA vesiculovirus in the family Rhabdoviridae, is used to study evolutionary processes due to its robust replication capacity and high mutation rate. HeLa, PC3, and H82 are human epithelial cancer cell lines from cervical, prostate, and lung tissue, respectively. HeLa is the selection host of the experimentally evolved VSV studied here, and PC3 and H82 are novel hosts. We compared these HeLa-adapted VSVs to three cancer-naïve VSVs.

Methods: Turner and Elena (2000) grew four populations of VSV for 20 passages in HeLa cells. We inoculated HeLa, PC3, and H82 cell cultures with these virus populations and measured replication rate by plaque assay and virulence by counting ratios of dead to total cells.

Results: The adaptive changes that increased replication rate on HeLa may be correlated with increased replication rates in one of the novel hosts tested. Although selection in HeLa resulted in higher virulence in that host, that increased virulence did not carry over to the novel hosts. Therefore, evolutionary changes in viral replication and virulence in this system are not highly correlated, and an increase in replication rate arising as a correlated response to selection does not necessarily increase viral pathogenicity.

Keywords: generalism, host range, oncolytic virus, specialism, vesicular stomatitis virus.

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