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Nat Commun. 2017 Jul 5;8:15955. doi: 10.1038/ncomms15955.

Marine viruses discovered via metagenomics shed light on viral strategies throughout the oceans.

Author information

1
Instituto de Biologia (IB), Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Rio de Janeiro 21944970, Brazil.
2
Centre for Molecular and Biomolecular Informatics (CMBI), Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences, Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen 6500 HB, The Netherlands.
3
Theoretical Biology and Bioinformatics, Utrecht University (UU), Utrecht 3584 CH, The Netherlands.
4
Biology Department, San Diego State University (SDSU), San Diego, California 92182, USA.
5
Departamento de Ciências do Mar, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), Baixada Santista 11070100, Brazil.
6
Department of Marine Microbiology and Biogeochemistry, NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, and University of Utrecht, PO Box 59, 1790 AB Den Burg Texel, The Netherlands.
7
Department of Aquatic Microbiology, Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED), University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam 1090 GE, The Netherlands.
8
Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)/COPPE/SAGE, Rio de Janeiro 21941950, Brazil.

Abstract

Marine viruses are key drivers of host diversity, population dynamics and biogeochemical cycling and contribute to the daily flux of billions of tons of organic matter. Despite recent advancements in metagenomics, much of their biodiversity remains uncharacterized. Here we report a data set of 27,346 marine virome contigs that includes 44 complete genomes. These outnumber all currently known phage genomes in marine habitats and include members of previously uncharacterized lineages. We designed a new method for host prediction based on co-occurrence associations that reveals these viruses infect dominant members of the marine microbiome such as Prochlorococcus and Pelagibacter. A negative association between host abundance and the virus-to-host ratio supports the recently proposed Piggyback-the-Winner model of reduced phage lysis at higher host densities. An analysis of the abundance patterns of viruses throughout the oceans revealed how marine viral communities adapt to various seasonal, temperature and photic regimes according to targeted hosts and the diversity of auxiliary metabolic genes.

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