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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Jan;73(2):554-62. Epub 2006 Nov 10.

Molecular dynamics of Emiliania huxleyi and cooccurring viruses during two separate mesocosm studies.

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  • 1Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, The Hoe, Plymouth PL1 3DH, United Kingdom.


In this study we used denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, sequencing analysis, and analytical flow cytometry to monitor the dynamics and genetic richness of Emiliania huxleyi isolates and cooccurring viruses during two mesocosm experiments in a Norwegian fjord in 2000 and 2003. We exploited variations in a gene encoding a protein with calcium-binding motifs (GPA) and in the major capsid protein (MCP) gene to assess allelic and genotypic richness within E. huxleyi and E. huxleyi-specific viruses (EhVs), respectively. To our knowledge, this is the first report that shows the effectiveness of the GPA gene for analysis of natural communities of E. huxleyi. Our results revealed the existence of a genetically rich, yet stable E. huxleyi and EhV community in the fjordic environment. Incredibly, the same virus and host genotypes dominated in separate studies conducted 3 years apart. Both E. huxleyi-dominated blooms contained the same six E. huxleyi alleles. In addition, despite the presence of at least six and four EhV genotypes at the start of the blooms in 2000 and 2003, respectively, the same two virus genotypes dominated the naturally occurring infections during the exponential and termination phases of the blooms in both years.

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