Waterborne viruses can exhibit resistance to common water disinfectants, yet the mechanisms that allow them to tolerate disinfection are poorly understood. Here, we generated echovirus 11 (E11) with resistance to chlorine dioxide (ClO2) by experimental evolution, and we assessed the associated genotypic and phenotypic traits. ClO2 resistance emerged after E11 populations were repeatedly reduced (either by ClO2-exposure or by dilution) and then regrown in cell culture. The resistance was linked to an improved capacity of E11 to bind to its host cells, which was further attributed to two potential causes: first, the resistant E11 populations possessed mutations that caused amino acid substitutions from ClO2-labile to ClO2-stable residues in the viral proteins, which likely increased the chemical stability of the capsid toward ClO2. Second, resistant E11 mutants exhibited the capacity to utilize alternative cell receptors for host binding. Interestingly, the emergence of ClO2 resistance resulted in an enhanced replicative fitness compared to the less resistant starting population. Overall this study contributes to a better understanding of the mechanism underlying disinfection resistance in waterborne viruses, and processes that drive resistance development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry