Contrasting life strategies of viruses that infect photo- and heterotrophic bacteria, as revealed by viral tagging

Li Deng, Ann Gregory, Suzan Yilmaz, Bonnie T. Poulos, Philip Hugenholtz, Matthew Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ocean viruses are ubiquitous and abundant and play important roles in global biogeochemical cycles by means of their mortality, horizontal gene transfer, and manipulation of host metabolism. However, the obstacles involved in linking viruses to their hosts in a high-throughput manner bottlenecks our ability to understand virus-host interactions in complex communities. We have developed a method called viral tagging (VT), which combines mixtures of host cells and fluorescent viruses with flow cytometry. We investigated multiple viruses which infect each of two model marine bacteria that represent the slowgrowing, photoautotrophic genus Synechococcus (Cyanobacteria) and the fast-growing, heterotrophic genus Pseudoalteromonas (Gammaproteobacteria). Overall, viral tagging results for viral infection were consistent with plaque and liquid infection assays for cyanobacterial myo-, podo- and siphoviruses and some (myo- and podoviruses) but not all (four siphoviruses) heterotrophic bacterial viruses. Virus-tagged Pseudoalteromonas organisms were proportional to the added viruses under varied infection conditions (virus-bacterium ratios), while no more than 50% of the Synechococcus organisms were virus tagged even at viral abundances that exceeded (5 to 10×) that of their hosts. Further, we found that host growth phase minimally impacts the fraction of virus-tagged Synechococcus organisms while greatly affecting phage adsorption to Pseudoalteromonas. Together these findings suggest that at least two contrasting viral life strategies exist in the oceans and that they likely reflect adaptation to their host microbes. Looking forward to the point at which the virus-tagging signature is well understood (e.g., for Synechococcus), application to natural communities should begin to provide population genomic data at the proper scale for predictively modeling two of the most abundant biological entities on Earth. "

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalmBio
Volume3
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2012

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Viruses
Bacteria
Synechococcus
Pseudoalteromonas
Virus Diseases
Oceans and Seas
Gammaproteobacteria
Metagenomics
Horizontal Gene Transfer
Cyanobacteria
Bacteriophages
Adsorption
Flow Cytometry
Mortality
Growth
Infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Virology

Cite this

Contrasting life strategies of viruses that infect photo- and heterotrophic bacteria, as revealed by viral tagging. / Deng, Li; Gregory, Ann; Yilmaz, Suzan; Poulos, Bonnie T.; Hugenholtz, Philip; Sullivan, Matthew.

In: mBio, Vol. 3, No. 6, 11.2012.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Deng, Li ; Gregory, Ann ; Yilmaz, Suzan ; Poulos, Bonnie T. ; Hugenholtz, Philip ; Sullivan, Matthew. / Contrasting life strategies of viruses that infect photo- and heterotrophic bacteria, as revealed by viral tagging. In: mBio. 2012 ; Vol. 3, No. 6.
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