Fungal viral mutualism moderated by ploidy

Robert McBride, Duncan Greig, Michael Travisano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Endosymbionts and their hosts have inherently ambiguous relationships as symbionts typically depend upon their hosts for shelter, nutrition, and reproduction. Endosymbionts can acquire these needs by two alternative strategies: exploitation and cooperation. Parasites exploit hosts to advance their own reproduction at the cost of host fitness. In contrast, mutualists increase their reproductive output by increasing host fitness. Very often the distinction between parasites and mutualists is not discrete but rather contingent on the environment in which the interaction occurs, and can shift along a continuous scale from parasitism to mutualism. The cost benefit dynamics at any point along this continuum are of particular interest as they establish the likelihood of an interaction persisting or breaking down. Here we show how the interaction between the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and an endosymbiotic killer virus is strongly dependent on both host ploidy and environmental pH. Additionally we elucidate the mechanisms underlying the ploidy-dependent interaction. Understanding these dynamics in the short-term is key to understanding how genetic and environmental factors impact community diversity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2372-2380
Number of pages9
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2008


  • Environmental dependence
  • Interference competition
  • Mutualism
  • Reproductive mode
  • Saccharomyces
  • Symbiosis
  • Yeast


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