Dual-RNAseq Analysis Unravels Virus-Host Interactions of MetSV and Methanosarcina mazei

Methanosarcina spherical virus (MetSV), infecting Methanosarcina species, encodes 22 genes, but their role in the infection process in combination with host genes has remained unknown. To study the infection process in detail, infected and uninfected M. mazei cultures were compared using dual-RNAseq, qRT-PCRs, and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The transcriptome analysis strongly indicates a combined role of virus and host genes in replication, virus assembly, and lysis. Thereby, 285 host and virus genes were significantly regulated. Within these 285 regulated genes, a network of the viral polymerase, MetSVORF6, MetSVORF5, MetSVORF2, and the host genes encoding NrdD, NrdG, a CDC48 family protein, and a SSB protein with a role in viral replication was postulated. Ultrastructural analysis at 180 min p.i. revealed many infected cells with virus particles randomly scattered throughout the cytoplasm or attached at the cell surface, and membrane fragments indicating cell lysis. Dual-RNAseq and qRT-PCR analyses suggested a multifactorial lysis reaction in potential connection to the regulation of a cysteine proteinase, a pirin-like protein and a HicB-solo protein. Our study's results led to the first preliminary infection model of MetSV infecting M. mazei, summarizing the key infection steps as follows: replication, assembly, and host cell lysis.


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