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J Virol. 2011 May;85(9):4520-9. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02131-10. Epub 2011 Feb 2.

Genome sequence of Ostreococcus tauri virus OtV-2 throws light on the role of picoeukaryote niche separation in the ocean.

Author information

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

Abstract

Ostreococcus tauri, a unicellular marine green alga, is the smallest known free-living eukaryote and is ubiquitous in the surface oceans. The ecological success of this organism has been attributed to distinct low- and high-light-adapted ecotypes existing in different niches at a range of depths in the ocean. Viruses have already been characterized that infect the high-light-adapted strains. Ostreococcus tauri virus (OtV) isolate OtV-2 is a large double-stranded DNA algal virus that infects a low-light-adapted strain of O. tauri and was assigned to the algal virus family Phycodnaviridae, genus Prasinovirus. Our working hypothesis for this study was that different viruses infecting high- versus low-light-adapted O. tauri strains would provide clues to propagation strategies that would give them selective advantages within their particular light niche. Sequence analysis of the 184,409-bp linear OtV-2 genome revealed a range of core functional genes exclusive to this low-light genotype and included a variety of unexpected genes, such as those encoding an RNA polymerase sigma factor, at least four DNA methyltransferases, a cytochrome b(5), and a high-affinity phosphate transporter. It is clear that OtV-2 has acquired a range of potentially functional genes from its host, other eukaryotes, and even bacteria over evolutionary time. Such piecemeal accretion of genes is a trademark of large double-stranded DNA viruses that has allowed them to adapt their propagation strategies to keep up with host niche separation in the sunlit layers of the oceanic environment.

PMID:
21289127
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3126241
Free PMC Article

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