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Viruses 2017, 9(3), 51; doi:10.3390/v9030051

Schrödinger’s Cheshire Cat: Are Haploid Emiliania huxleyi Cells Resistant to Viral Infection or Not?

Marine Biological Association of the UK, Citadel Hill, Plymouth PL1 2PB, UK
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Academic Editors: Corina Brussaard and Mathias Middelboe
Received: 31 January 2017 / Revised: 10 March 2017 / Accepted: 14 March 2017 / Published: 18 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Viruses 2016)
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Abstract

Emiliania huxleyi is the main calcite producer on Earth and is routinely infected by a virus (EhV); a double stranded DNA (dsDNA) virus belonging to the family Phycodnaviridae. E. huxleyi exhibits a haplodiploid life cycle; the calcified diploid stage is non-motile and forms extensive blooms. The haploid phase is a non-calcified biflagellated cell bearing organic scales. Haploid cells are thought to resist infection, through a process deemed the “Cheshire Cat” escape strategy; however, a recent study detected the presence of viral lipids in the same haploid strain. Here we report on the application of an E. huxleyi CCMP1516 EhV-86 combined tiling array (TA) that further confirms an EhV infection in the RCC1217 haploid strain, which grew without any signs of cell lysis. Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and PCR verified the presence of viral RNA in the haploid cells, yet indicated an absence of viral DNA, respectively. These infected cells are an alternative stage of the virus life cycle deemed the haplococcolithovirocell. In this instance, the host is both resistant to and infected by EhV, i.e., the viral transcriptome is present in haploid cells whilst there is no evidence of viral lysis. This superimposed state is reminiscent of Schrödinger’s cat; of being simultaneously both dead and alive. View Full-Text
Keywords: Emiliania huxleyi; virus; Phycodnaviridae; EhV; transcriptome; tiling array Emiliania huxleyi; virus; Phycodnaviridae; EhV; transcriptome; tiling array
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MDPI and ACS Style

Mordecai, G.J.; Verret, F.; Highfield, A.; Schroeder, D.C. Schrödinger’s Cheshire Cat: Are Haploid Emiliania huxleyi Cells Resistant to Viral Infection or Not? Viruses 2017, 9, 51.

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