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Quantifying the Evolution of Fluconazole Resistance in S. Cerevisiae Using Molecular Barcodes

Description

One of the largest problems facing modern medicine is drug resistance. Many classes of drugs can be rendered ineffective if their target is able to acquire beneficial mutations. While this

One of the largest problems facing modern medicine is drug resistance. Many classes of drugs can be rendered ineffective if their target is able to acquire beneficial mutations. While this is an excellent showcase of the power of evolution, it necessitates the development of increasingly stronger drugs to combat resistant pathogens. Not only is this strategy costly and time consuming, it is also unsustainable. To contend with this problem, many multi-drug treatment strategies are being explored. Previous studies have shown that resistance to some drug combinations is not possible, for example, resistance to a common antifungal drug, fluconazole, seems impossible in the presence of radicicol. We believe that in order to understand the viability of multi-drug strategies in combating drug resistance, we must understand the full spectrum of resistance mutations that an organism can develop, not just the most common ones. It is possible that rare mutations exist that are resistant to both drugs. Knowing the frequency of such mutations is important for making predictions about how problematic they will be when multi-drug strategies are used to treat human disease. This experiment aims to expand on previous research on the evolution of drug resistance in S. cerevisiae by using molecular barcodes to track ~100,000 evolving lineages simultaneously. The barcoded cells were evolved with serial transfers for seven weeks (200 generations) in three concentrations of the antifungal Fluconazole, three concentrations of the Hsp90 inhibitor Radicicol, and in four combinations of Fluconazole and Radicicol. Sequencing data was used to track barcode frequencies over the course of the evolution, allowing us to observe resistant lineages as they rise and quantify differences in resistance evolution across the different conditions. We were able to successfully observe over 100,000 replicates simultaneously, revealing many adaptive lineages in all conditions. Our results also show clear differences across drug concentrations and combinations, with the highest drug concentrations exhibiting distinct behaviors.

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Date Created
  • 2021-05

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Discovery of Novel Viruses in Arachnids

Description

Arachnids belong to the phylum Arthropoda, the largest phylum in the animal kingdom. Ticks are blood-feeding arachnids that vector numerous pathogens of significant medical and veterinary importance, while scorpions have

Arachnids belong to the phylum Arthropoda, the largest phylum in the animal kingdom. Ticks are blood-feeding arachnids that vector numerous pathogens of significant medical and veterinary importance, while scorpions have become a common concern in urban desert cities due to the high level of toxicity in their venom. To date, viruses associated with arachnids have been under sampled and understudied. Here viral metagenomics was used to explore the diversity of viruses present in ticks and scorpions. American dog ticks (Dermacentor variabilis) and blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis) were collected in Pennsylvania while one hairy scorpion (Hadrurus arizonensis) and four bark scorpions (Centruroides sculpturatus) were collected in Phoenix. Novel viral genomes described here belong to the families Polyomaviridae, Anelloviridae, Genomoviridae, and a newly proposed family, Arthropolviridae.

Polyomaviruses are non-enveloped viruses with a small, circular double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) genomes that have been identified in a variety of mammals, birds and fish and are known to cause various diseases. Arthropolviridae is a proposed family of circular, large tumor antigen encoding dsDNA viruses that have a unidirectional genome organization. Genomoviruses and anelloviruses are ssDNA viruses that have circular genomes ranging in size from 2–2.4 kb and 2.1–3.8 kb, respectively. Genomoviruses are ubiquitous in the environment, having been identified in a wide range of animal, plant and environmental samples, while anelloviruses have been associated with a plethora of animals.

Here, 16 novel viruses are reported that span four viral families. Eight novel polyomaviruses were recovered from bark scorpions, three arthropolviruses were recovered from dog ticks and one arthropolvirus from a hairy scorpion. Viruses belonging to the families Polyomaviridae and Arthropolviridae are highly divergent. This is the first more extensive study of these viruses in arachnids. Three genomoviruses were recovered from both dog and deer ticks and one anellovirus was recovered from deer ticks, which are the first records of these viruses being recovered from ticks. This work highlights the diversity of dsDNA and ssDNA viruses in the arachnid population and emphasizes the importance of performing viral surveys on these populations.

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Date Created
  • 2019

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Characterization of Geminiviruses Infecting Cactaceae Plants: Spill-Over Events in Agro-Ecological Interfaces and Evolutionary Aspects

Description

The family Cactaceae is extremely diverse and has a near global distribution yet very little has been described regarding the community of viruses that infect or are associated with cacti.

The family Cactaceae is extremely diverse and has a near global distribution yet very little has been described regarding the community of viruses that infect or are associated with cacti. This research characterizes the diversity of viruses associated with Cactaceae plants and their evolutionary aspects. Five viruses belonging to the economically relevant plant virus family Geminiviridae were identified, initially, two novel divergent geminiviruses named Opuntia virus 1 (OpV1) and Opuntia virus 2 (OpV2) and Opuntia becurtovirus, a new strain within the genus Becurtovirus. These three viruses were also found in co-infection. In addition, two known geminiviruses, the squash leaf curl virus (SLCV) and watermelon chlorotic stunt virus (WCSV) were identified infecting Cactaceae plants and other non-cactus plants in the USA and Mexico. Both SLCV and WCSV are known to cause severe disease in cultivated Cucurbitaceae plants in the USA and Middle East, respectively. This study shows that WCSV was introduced in the America two times, and it is the first identification of this virus in the USA, demonstrating is likely more widespread in North America. These findings along with the Opuntia becurtovirus are probable events of spill-over in agro-ecological interfaces. A novel circular DNA possibly bipartite plant-infecting virus that encodes protein similar to those of geminiviruses was also identified in an Opuntia discolor plant in Brazil, named utkilio virus, but it is evolutionary distinct likely belonging to a new taxon. Viruses belonging to the ssDNA viral family Genomoviridae are also described and those thus far been associated with fungi hosts, so it is likely the ones identified in plants are associated with their phytobiome. Overall, the results of this project provide a molecular and biological characterization of novel geminiviruses and genomoviruses associated with cacti as well as demonstrate the impact of agro-ecological interfaces in the spread of viruses from or to native plants. It also highlights the importance of viral metagenomics studies in exploring virus diversity and evolution given then amount of virus diversity identified. This is important for conservation and management of cacti in a global scale, including the relevance of controlled movement of plants within countries.

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Date Created
  • 2021