Matthew J. Ballinger

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Little is known of the biological significance and evolutionary maintenance of integrated non-retroviral RNA virus genes in eukaryotic host genomes. Here, we isolated novel filovirus-like genes from bat genomes and tested for evolutionary maintenance. We also estimated the age of filovirus VP35-like gene integrations and tested the phylogenetic hypotheses(More)
UNLABELLED Bunyaviridae is a large family of RNA viruses chiefly comprised of vertebrate and plant pathogens. We discovered novel bunyavirids that are approximately equally divergent from each of the five known genera. We characterized novel genome sequences for two bunyavirids, namely, Kigluaik phantom virus (KIGV), from tundra-native phantom midges(More)
Among eukaryotes with modified nuclear genetic codes, viruses are unknown. However, here we provide evidence of an RNA virus that infects a fungal host (Scheffersomyces segobiensis) with a derived nuclear genetic code where CUG codes for serine. The genomic architecture and phylogeny are consistent with infection by a double-stranded RNA virus of the genus(More)
The ecological model, Daphnia pulex (Cladocera: Daphniidae), is broadly distributed in Holarctic freshwater habitats and has been the subject of multidisciplinary study for over half a century, but never has a natural RNA virus infection been reported in daphnids. Here we report on a group of paleoviruses related to RNA dependent RNA polymerase in the(More)
An understanding of the timescale of evolution is critical for comparative virology but remains elusive for many RNA viruses. Age estimates based on mutation rates can severely underestimate divergences for ancient viral genes that are evolving under strong purifying selection. Paleoviral dating, however, can provide minimum age estimates for ancient(More)
The recent and surprising discovery of widespread NIRVs (non-retroviral integrated RNA viruses) has highlighted the importance of genomic interactions between non-retroviral RNA viruses and their eukaryotic hosts. Among the viruses with integrated representatives are the rhabdoviruses, a family of negative sense single-stranded RNA viruses. We identify(More)
Hemipteran insects of the suborder Sternorrhyncha are plant sap feeders, where each family is obligately associated with a specific bacterial endosymbiont that produces essential nutrients lacking in the sap. Coccidae (soft scale insects) is the only major sternorrhynchan family in which obligate symbiont(s) have not been identified. We studied the(More)
While it has become increasingly clear that multicellular organisms often harbor microbial symbionts that protect their hosts against natural enemies, the mechanistic underpinnings underlying most defensive symbioses are largely unknown. Spiroplasma bacteria are widespread associates of terrestrial arthropods, and include strains that protect diverse(More)
Little is known of the evolution of RNA viruses in aquatic systems. Here, we assess the genetic connectivity of two bunyaviruses (Kigluaik phantom orthophasmavirus or KIGV and Nome phantom orthophasmavirus or NOMV) with zooplanktonic hosts from subarctic ponds. We expected weak genetic structure among populations as the hosts (phantom midges) have a(More)
The planthopper Hyalesthes obsoletus (Hemiptera: Cixiidae) is an important vector of phytoplasma diseases in grapevine. In the current study, the bacterial community compositions of symbionts of this insect were examined. Two dominant bacterial lineages were identified by mass sequencing: the obligate symbiont Candidatus Sulcia, and a facultative symbiont(More)
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