Induction of prophages from deep-subseafloor bacteria

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doi: 10.1111/j.1758-2229.2010.00232.x
Author(s): Engelhardt, Tim; Sahlberg, Monika; Cypionka, Heribert; Engelen, Bert
Author Affiliation(s): Primary:
Universität Oldenburg, Institut für Chemie und Biologie des Meeres, Oldenburg, Germany
Volume Title: Environmental Microbiology Reports
Source: Environmental Microbiology Reports, 3(4), p.459-465. Publisher: John Wiley & Sons on behalf of the Society for Applied Microbiology, Oxford, United Kingdom. ISSN: 1758-2229
Note: In English. 29 refs.; illus., incl. 3 tables
Summary: The deep-subseafloor biosphere harbours a major part of the total microbial biomass on Earth. However, how life and death in this environment are regulated is not yet understood. While organisms from higher trophic levels appear to be absent, viruses might be a factor for microbial mortality. In this study, we found an increasing ratio between viral and total cell counts with depth in deep-subseafloor sediments recovered during Leg 201 of the Ocean Drilling Program. A phylogenetically diverse culture collection from corresponding sediment layers was tested for the presence of inducible prophages. A treatment by mitomycin C as inducing agent indicated the presence of prophages in 46% of the bacterial isolates. Different morphotypes of myoviruses and siphoviruses were detected by transmission electron microscopy. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis applied to viral DNA extracts showed their genetic diversity. Three host strains even harboured more than one prophage. Thus, our results prove the existence of functional viruses in the deep-subseafloor biosphere. Bacteriophages might take over the role of the main predators, as anoxia and oligotrophy favour the importance of viruses as mortality factors. Furthermore, the fact that the viral shunt recycles organic compounds might be of special relevance to this severely nutrient-depleted habitat.
Year of Publication: 2011
Research Program: ODP Ocean Drilling Program
Key Words: 07 Marine Geology and Oceanography; Bacteria; DNA; Deep-sea environment; East Pacific; Equatorial Pacific; Leg 201; Marine environment; Marine sediments; Microorganisms; Nucleic acids; Ocean Drilling Program; Pacific Ocean; Sediments; Viruses
Coordinates: S120500 N035000 W0775500 W1103500
Record ID: 2016083770
Copyright Information: GeoRef, Copyright 2019 American Geosciences Institute.