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Initial Virome Characterization of the Common Cnidarian Lab Model Nematostella vectensis

Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, Faculty of Science, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 9190401, Israel
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Viruses 2020, 12(2), 218; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12020218 (registering DOI)
Received: 16 January 2020 / Revised: 9 February 2020 / Accepted: 13 February 2020 / Published: 15 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Viruses)
The role of viruses in forming a stable holobiont has been the subject of extensive research in recent years. However, many emerging model organisms still lack any data on the composition of the associated viral communities. Here, we re-analyzed seven publicly available transcriptome datasets of the starlet sea anemone Nematostella vectensis, the most commonly used anthozoan lab model, and searched for viral sequences. We applied a straightforward, yet powerful approach of de novo assembly followed by homology-based virus identification and a multi-step, thorough taxonomic validation. The comparison of different lab populations of N. vectensis revealed the existence of the core virome composed of 21 viral sequences, present in all adult datasets. Unexpectedly, we observed an almost complete lack of viruses in the samples from the early developmental stages, which together with the identification of the viruses shared with the major source of the food in the lab, the brine shrimp Artemia salina, shed new light on the course of viral species acquisition in N. vectensis. Our study provides an initial, yet comprehensive insight into N. vectensis virome and sets the first foundation for the functional studies of viruses and antiviral systems in this lab model cnidarian. View Full-Text
Keywords: Nematostella vectensis; viruses; Cnidaria; RNA-seq Nematostella vectensis; viruses; Cnidaria; RNA-seq
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Lewandowska, M.; Hazan, Y.; Moran, Y. Initial Virome Characterization of the Common Cnidarian Lab Model Nematostella vectensis. Viruses 2020, 12, 218.

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