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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2005 Jan;71(1):480-6.

Nearly identical bacteriophage structural gene sequences are widely distributed in both marine and freshwater environments.

Author information

  • 1Department of Earth and Department of Ocean Sciences, University of British of Columbia, 6270 University Blvd., Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z4.

Abstract

Primers were designed to amplify a 592-bp region within a conserved structural gene (g20) found in some cyanophages. The goal was to use this gene as a proxy to infer genetic richness in natural cyanophage communities and to determine if sequences were more similar in similar environments. Gene products were amplified from samples from the Gulf of Mexico, the Arctic, Southern, and Northeast and Southeast Pacific Oceans, an Arctic cyanobacterial mat, a catfish production pond, lakes in Canada and Germany, and a depth of ca. 3,246 m in the Chuckchi Sea. Amplicons were separated by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, and selected bands were sequenced. Phylogenetic analysis revealed four previously unknown groups of g20 clusters, two of which were entirely found in freshwater. Also, sequences with >99% identities were recovered from environments that differed greatly in temperature and salinity. For example, nearly identical sequences were recovered from the Gulf of Mexico, the Southern Pacific Ocean, an Arctic freshwater cyanobacterial mat, and Lake Constance, Germany. These results imply that closely related hosts and the viruses infecting them are distributed widely across environments or that horizontal gene exchange occurs among phage communities from very different environments. Moreover, the amplification of g20 products from deep in the cyanobacterium-sparse Chuckchi Sea suggests that this primer set targets bacteriophages other than those infecting cyanobacteria.

PMID:
15640224
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC544240
Free PMC Article

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