[Coral-List] New publication on coral virus metagenome methodology

Karen Weynberg K.Weynberg at aims.gov.au
Wed May 7 05:39:26 EDT 2014

Dear Coral Reef colleagues

We would like to share our newly published open-access article in the journal  'Frontiers in Microbiology - Virology', which may be of interest to many who work with reef corals.

Please use this link to access the article entitled 'Generating viral metagenomes from the coral holobiont' authored by Weynberg et al. :


Reef-building corals comprise multipartite symbioses where the cnidarian animal is host to an array of eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms, and the viruses that infect them. These viruses are critical elements of the coral holobiont, serving not only as agents of mortality, but also as potential vectors for lateral gene flow, and as elements encoding a variety of auxiliary metabolic functions. Consequently, understanding the functioning and health of the coral holobiont requires detailed knowledge of the associated viral assemblage and its function. Currently, the most tractable way of uncovering viral diversity and function is through metagenomic approaches, which is inherently difficult in corals because of the complex holobiont community, an extracellular mucus layer that all corals secrete, and the variety of sizes and structures of nucleic acids found in viruses. Here we present the first protocol for isolating, purifying and amplifying viral nucleic acids from corals based on mechanical disruption of cells. This method produces at least 50% higher yields of viral nucleic acids, has very low levels of cellular sequence contamination and captures wider viral diversity than previously used chemical-based extraction methods. We demonstrate that our mechanical-based method profiles a greater diversity of DNA and RNA genomes, including virus groups such as Retro-transcribing and ssRNA viruses, which are absent from metagenomes generated via chemical-based methods. In addition, we briefly present (and make publically available) the first paired DNA and RNA viral metagenomes from the coral Acropora tenuis.

Best wishes
Karen Weynberg


Dr Karen Weynberg
Super Science Fellow
Australian Institute of Marine Science
PMB No. 3, Townsville MC
Queensland 4810, Australia

Tel.: +61 7 4753 4325
Fax: +61 7 4772 5852

E-mail: k.weynberg at aims.gov.au
Website: www.aims.gov.au
The information contained within this transmission is for the
use of the intended recipient only and may contain confidential
and/or legally privileged material and/or material the subject
of copyright and/or personal information and/or sensitive
information that is subject to the Privacy Act 1988. Any review,
re-transmission, disclosure, dissemination or other use of, or
taking of any action in reliance upon, this information by
persons or entities other than the intended recipient is
prohibited. If you have received this email in error please
notify the AIMS Privacy Officer on (07) 4753 4444 and delete
all copies of this transmission together with any attachments.

More information about the Coral-List mailing list