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  • Zhang, Ji; Ketola, Tarmo; Örmälä, Anni-Maria; Mappes, Johanna; Laakso, Jouni (2014)
  • Coloma, Sebastian Ernesto; Gaedge, Ursula; Sivonen, Anna Kaarina; Hiltunen, Teppo Johannes (2019)
    Parasites, such as bacterial viruses (phages), can have large effects on host populations both at the ecological and evolutionary levels. In the case of cyanobacteria, phages can reduce primary production and infected hosts release intracellular nutrients influencing planktonic food web structure, community dynamics, and biogeochemical cycles. Cyanophages may be of great importance in aquatic food webs during large cyanobacterial blooms unless the host population becomes resistant to phage infection. The consequences on plankton community dynamics of the evolution of phage resistance in bloom forming cyanobacterial populations are still poorly studied. Here, we examined the effect of different frequencies of a phage-resistant genotype within a filamentous nitrogen-fixing Nodularia spumigena population on an experimental plankton community. Three Nodularia populations with different initial frequencies (0%, 5%, and 50%) of phage-resistant genotypes were inoculated in separate treatments with the phage 2AV2, the green alga Chlorella vulgaris, and the rotifer Brachionus plicatilis, which formed the experimental plankton community subjected to either nitrogen-limited or nitrogen-rich conditions. We found that the frequency of the phage-resistant Nodularia genotype determined experimental community dynamics. Cyanobacterial populations with a high frequency (50%) of the phage-resistant genotype dominated the cultures despite the presence of phages, retaining most of the intracellular nitrogen in the plankton community. In contrast, populations with low frequencies (0% and 5%) of the phage-resistant genotype were lysed and reduced to extinction by the phage, transferring the intracellular nitrogen held by Nodularia to Chlorella and rotifers, and allowing Chlorella to dominate the communities and rotifers to survive. This study shows that even though phages represent minuscule biomass, they can have key effects on community composition and eco-evolutionary feedbacks in plankton communities.
  • Susi, Hanna; Burdon, Jeremy J.; Thrall, Peter H.; Nemri, Adnane; Barrett, Luke G. (2020)
    A priority for research on infectious disease is to understand how epidemiological and evolutionary processes interact to influence pathogen population dynamics and disease outcomes. However, little is understood about how population adaptation changes across time, how sexual vs. asexual reproduction contribute to the spread of pathogens in wild populations and how diversity measured with neutral and selectively important markers correlates across years. Here, we report results from a long-term study of epidemiological and genetic dynamics within several natural populations of theLinum marginale-Melampsora liniplant-pathogen interaction. Using pathogen isolates collected from three populations of wild flax (L.marginale) spanning 16 annual epidemics, we probe links between pathogen population dynamics, phenotypic variation for infectivity and genomic polymorphism. Pathogen genotyping was performed using 1567 genome-wide SNP loci and sequence data from two infectivity loci (AvrP123,AvrP4). Pathogen isolates were phenotyped for infectivity using a differential set. Patterns of epidemic development were assessed by conducting surveys of infection prevalence in one population (Kiandra) annually. Bayesian clustering analyses revealed host population and ecotype as key predictors of pathogen genetic structure. Despite strong fluctuations in pathogen population size and severe annual bottlenecks, analysis of molecular variance revealed that pathogen population differentiation was relatively stable over time. Annually, varying levels of clonal spread (0-44.8%) contributed to epidemics. However, within populations, temporal genetic composition was dynamic with rapid turnover of pathogen genotypes, despite the dominance of only four infectivity phenotypes across the entire study period. Furthermore, in the presence of strong fluctuations in population size and migration, spatial selection may maintain pathogen populations that, despite being phenotypically stable, are genetically highly dynamic. Author summary Melampsora liniis a rust fungus that infects native flax,Linum marginalein south-eastern Australia where its epidemiology and evolution have been intensively studied since 1987. Over that time, substantial diversity in the pathotypic structure ofM.linihas been demonstrated but an understanding of how genetic diversity in pathogen populations is maintained through space and time is lacking. Here we integrated phenotypic, genotypic and epidemiological datasets spanning 16 annual epidemics across three host populations to examine long-term pathogen genetic dynamics. The results show that host ecotype is the dominant selective force in the face of strong bottlenecks and annual patterns of genetic turnover. Results from previous studies indicate that in this geographic region,M.linilacks the capacity to reproduce sexually-we thus expected to find limited genetic diversity and evidence for strong clonality influencing genetic dynamics within growing seasons. However, the breadth of genomic coverage provided by the SNP markers revealed high levels of genotypic variation withinM.linipopulations. This discovery contrasts with observed phenotypic dynamics as the epidemics of this pathogen were largely dominated by four pathotypes across the study period. Based on a detailed assessment and comparison of pathotypic and genotypic patterns, our study increases the understanding of how genetic diversity is generated and maintained through space and time within wild pathogen populations. The implications for the management of resistance to pathogens in agricultural or conservation contexts are significant: the appearance of clonality may be hiding high levels of pathogen diversity and recombination. Understanding how this diversity is generated could provide new and unique ways to mitigate or suppress the emergence of infectious strains, allowing to efficiently combat harmful diseases.
  • Laanto, Elina; Hoikkala, Ville; Ravantti, Janne; Sundberg, Lotta-Riina (2017)
    Antagonistic coevolution of parasite infectivity and host resistance may alter the biological functionality of species, yet these dynamics in nature are still poorly understood. Here we show the molecular details of a long-term phage-bacterium arms race in the environment. Bacteria (Flavobacterium columnare) are generally resistant to phages from the past and susceptible to phages isolated in years after bacterial isolation. Bacterial resistance selects for increased phage infectivity and host range, which is also associated with expansion of phage genome size. We identified two CRISPR loci in the bacterial host: a type II-C locus and a type VI-B locus. While maintaining a core set of conserved spacers, phage-matching spacers appear in the variable ends of both loci over time. The spacers mostly target the terminal end of the phage genomes, which also exhibit the most variation across time, resulting in arms-race-like changes in the protospacers of the coevolving phage population.
  • Penczykowski, Rachel M.; Laine, Anna-Liisa; Koskella, Britt (2016)
    Predicting the emergence, spread and evolution of parasites within and among host populations requires insight to both the spatial and temporal scales of adaptation, including an understanding of within-host up through community-level dynamics. Although there are very few pathosystems for which such extensive data exist, there has been a recent push to integrate studies performed over multiple scales or to simultaneously test for dynamics occurring across scales. Drawing on examples from the literature, with primary emphasis on three diverse host-parasite case studies, we first examine current understanding of the spatial structure of host and parasite populations, including patterns of local adaptation and spatial variation in host resistance and parasite infectivity. We then explore the ways to measure temporal variation and dynamics in host-parasite interactions and discuss the need to examine change over both ecological and evolutionary timescales. Finally, we highlight new approaches and syntheses that allow for simultaneous analysis of dynamics across scales. We argue that there is great value in examining interplay among scales in studies of host-parasite interactions.