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Microb Ecol. 2006 May;51(4):543-54. Epub 2006 May 6.

Isolation and genetic analysis of haloalkaliphilic bacteriophages in a North American Soda Lake.

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Department of Environmental Health, Science, & Policy, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697-7070, USA.


Mono Lake is a meromictic, hypersaline, soda lake that harbors a diverse and abundant microbial community. A previous report documented the high viral abundance in Mono Lake, and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis analysis of viral DNA from lake water samples showed a diverse population based on a broad range of viral genome sizes. To better understand the ecology of bacteriophages and their hosts in this unique environment, water samples were collected between February 2001 and July 2004 for isolation of bacteriophages by using four indigenous bacterial hosts. Plaque assay results showed a differential seasonal expression of cultured bacteriophages. To reveal the diversity of uncultured bacteriophages, viral DNA from lake water samples was used to construct clone libraries. Sequence analysis of viral clones revealed homology to viral as well as bacterial proteins. Furthermore, dot blot DNA hybridization analyses showed that the uncultured viruses are more prevalent during most seasons, whereas the viral isolates (Aphi and phi2) were less prevalent, confirming the belief that uncultured viruses represent the dominant members of the community, whereas cultured isolates represent the minority species.

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