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Virophage control of antarctic algal host-virus dynamics


Yau, S and Lauro, FM and DeMaere, MZ and Brown, MV and Thomas, T and Raftery, MJ and Andrews-Pfannkoch, C and Lewis, M and Hoffman, JM and Gibson, JA and Cavicchioli, R, Virophage control of antarctic algal host-virus dynamics, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108, (15) pp. 6163-6168. ISSN 0027-8424 (2011) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2011 National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

DOI: doi:10.1073/pnas.1018221108


Viruses are abundant ubiquitous members of microbial communities and in the marine environment affect population structure and nutrient cycling by infecting and lysing primary producers. Antarctic lakes are microbially dominated ecosystems supporting truncated food webs in which viruses exert a major influence on the microbial loop. Here we report the discovery of a virophage (relative of the recently described Sputnik virophage) that preys on phycodnaviruses that infect prasinophytes (phototrophic algae). By performing metaproteogenomic analysis on samples from Organic Lake, a hypersaline meromictic lake in Antarctica, complete virophage and near-complete phycodnavirus genomes were obtained. By introducing the virophage as an additional predator of a predator–prey dynamic model we determined that the virophage stimulates secondary production through the microbial loop by reducing overall mortality of the host and increasing the frequency of blooms during polar summer light periods. Virophages remained abundant in the lake 2 y later and were represented by populations with a high level of major capsid protein sequence variation (25–100% identity). Virophage signatures were also found in neighboring Ace Lake (in abundance) and in two tropical lakes (hypersaline and fresh), an estuary, and an ocean upwelling site. These findings indicate that virophages regulate host–virus interactions, influence overall carbon flux in Organic Lake, and play previously unrecognized roles in diverse aquatic ecosystems.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:metagenomics, metaproteomics, East Antarctica, Vestfold Hills
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Microbiology
Research Field:Microbial ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Biodiversity in Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
UTAS Author:Gibson, JA (Dr John Gibson)
ID Code:77816
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:196
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2012-05-30
Last Modified:2015-02-02

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