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Competition–colonization trade-off promotes coexistence of low-virulence viral strains

Ojosnegros, Samuel and Delgado-Eckert, Edgar and Beerenwinkel, Niko (2012) Competition–colonization trade-off promotes coexistence of low-virulence viral strains. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 9 (74). pp. 2244-2254. ISSN 1742-5689. PMCID PMC3405765. doi:10.1098/rsif.2012.0160.

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RNA viruses exist as genetically diverse populations displaying a range of virulence degrees. The evolution of virulence in viral populations is, however, poorly understood. On the basis of the experimental observation of an RNA virus clone in cell culture diversifying into two subpopulations of different virulence, we study the dynamics of mutating virus populations with varying virulence. We introduce a competition–colonization trade-off into standard mathematical models of intra-host viral infection. Colonizers are fast-spreading virulent strains, whereas the competitors are less-virulent variants but more successful within co-infected cells. We observe a two-step dynamics of the population. Early in the infection, the population is dominated by colonizers, which later are outcompeted by competitors. Our simulations suggest the existence of steady state in which all virulence classes coexist but are dominated by the most competitive ones. This equilibrium implies collective virulence attenuation in the population, in contrast to previous models predicting evolution of the population towards increased virulence.

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Additional Information:© 2012 The Royal Society. Received 29 February 2012. Accepted 26 March 2012. Published online before print April 18, 2012. We are indebted to Moritz Lang for expert assistance with MATLAB. The authors thank the anonymous referees for their valuable suggestions.
Subject Keywords:virus competition; virus dynamics; virulence; quasispecies; evolution; mutations
Issue or Number:74
PubMed Central ID:PMC3405765
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120905-084519163
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:33847
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:05 Sep 2012 17:07
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:05

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