Weitz Group @ Georgia Tech Theoretical Ecology and Quantitative Biology

Heterogeneous Viral Strategies Promote Coexistence in Virus-Microbe Systems

TitleHeterogeneous Viral Strategies Promote Coexistence in Virus-Microbe Systems
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsGulbudak H, Weitz J

Viruses of microbes, including bacterial viruses (phage), archaeal viruses, and eukaryotic viruses, can influence the fate of individual microbes and entire populations. Here, we model distinct modes of virus-host interactions and study their impact on the abundance and diversity of both viruses and their microbial hosts. We consider two distinct viral populations infecting the same microbial population via two different strategies: lytic and chronic. A lytic strategy corresponds to viruses that exclusively infect and lyse their hosts to release new virions. A chronic strategy corresponds to viruses that infect hosts and then continually release new viruses via a budding process without cell lysis. The chronic virus can also be passed on to daughter cells during cell division. The long-term association of virus and microbe in the chronic mode drives differences in selective pressures with respect to the lytic mode. We utilize invasion analysis of the corresponding nonlinear differential equation model to study the ecology and evolution of heterogenous viral strategies. We first investigate stability of equilibria and characterize oscillatory dynamics in some parameter regions. Then, we derive fitness quantities for both virus types and investigate conditions for competitive exclusion and coexistence. In so doing we find unexpected results, including a regime in which the chronic virus requires the lytic virus for survival and invasion. In closing, we discuss generalizations of the model and the long-term evolution of strategies across a spectrum of lytic to chronic modes.