skip to main content

Title: Insights into the dynamics between viruses and their hosts in a hot spring microbial mat
Abstract

Our current knowledge of host–virus interactions in biofilms is limited to computational predictions based on laboratory experiments with a small number of cultured bacteria. However, natural biofilms are diverse and chiefly composed of uncultured bacteria and archaea with no viral infection patterns and lifestyle predictions described to date. Herein, we predict the first DNA sequence-based host–virus interactions in a natural biofilm. Using single-cell genomics and metagenomics applied to a hot spring mat of the Cone Pool in Mono County, California, we provide insights into virus–host range, lifestyle and distribution across different mat layers. Thirty-four out of 130 single cells contained at least one viral contig (26%), which, together with the metagenome-assembled genomes, resulted in detection of 59 viruses linked to 34 host species. Analysis of single-cell amplification kinetics revealed a lack of active viral replication on the single-cell level. These findings were further supported by mapping metagenomic reads from different mat layers to the obtained host–virus pairs, which indicated a low copy number of viral genomes compared to their hosts. Lastly, the metagenomic data revealed high layer specificity of viruses, suggesting limited diffusion to other mat layers. Taken together, these observations indicate that in low mobility environments with high more » microbial abundance, lysogeny is the predominant viral lifestyle, in line with the previously proposed “Piggyback-the-Winner” theory.

« less
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1826734
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10170946
Journal Name:
The ISME Journal
Volume:
14
Issue:
10
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
p. 2527-2541
ISSN:
1751-7362
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Bordenstein, Seth (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Encounters among bacteria and their viral predators (bacteriophages) are among the most common ecological interactions on Earth. These encounters are likely to occur with regularity inside surface-bound communities that microbes most often occupy in natural environments. Such communities, termed biofilms, are spatially constrained: interactions become limited to near neighbors, diffusion of solutes and particulates can be reduced, and there is pronounced heterogeneity in nutrient access and physiological state. It is appreciated from prior theoretical work that phage-bacteria interactions are fundamentally different in spatially structured contexts, as opposed to well-mixed liquid culture. Spatially structured communities are predicted to promote the protection of susceptible host cells from phage exposure, and thus weaken selection for phage resistance. The details and generality of this prediction in realistic biofilm environments, however, are not known. Here, we explore phage-host interactions using experiments and simulations that are tuned to represent the essential elements of biofilm communities. Our simulations show that in biofilms, phage-resistant cells—as their relative abundance increases—can protect clusters of susceptible cells from phage exposure, promoting the coexistence of susceptible and phage-resistant bacteria under a large array of conditions. We characterize the population dynamics underlying this coexistence, and we show that coexistence is recapitulated inmore »an experimental model of biofilm growth measured with confocal microscopy. Our results provide a clear view into the dynamics of phage resistance in biofilms with single-cell resolution of the underlying cell-virion interactions, linking the predictions of canonical theory to realistic models and in vitro experiments of biofilm growth. IMPORTANCE In the natural environment, bacteria most often live in communities bound to one another by secreted adhesives. These communities, or biofilms, play a central role in biogeochemical cycling, microbiome functioning, wastewater treatment, and disease. Wherever there are bacteria, there are also viruses that attack them, called phages. Interactions between bacteria and phages are likely to occur ubiquitously in biofilms. We show here, using simulations and experiments, that biofilms will in most conditions allow phage-susceptible bacteria to be protected from phage exposure, if they are growing alongside other cells that are phage resistant. This result has implications for the fundamental ecology of phage-bacteria interactions, as well as the development of phage-based antimicrobial therapeutics.« less
  2. McMahon, Katherine (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Mobile genetic elements (MGEs) drive bacterial evolution, alter gene availability within microbial communities, and facilitate adaptation to ecological niches. In natural systems, bacteria simultaneously possess or encounter multiple MGEs, yet their combined influences on microbial communities are poorly understood. Here, we investigate interactions among MGEs in the marine bacterium Sulfitobacter pontiacus . Two related strains, CB-D and CB-A, each harbor a single prophage. These prophages share high sequence identity with one another and an integration site within the host genome, yet these strains exhibit differences in “spontaneous” prophage induction (SPI) and consequent fitness. To better understand mechanisms underlying variation in SPI between these lysogens, we closed their genomes, which revealed that in addition to harboring different prophage genotypes, CB-A lacks two of the four large, low-copy-number plasmids possessed by CB-D. To assess the relative roles of plasmid content versus prophage genotype on host physiology, a panel of derivative strains varying in MGE content were generated. Characterization of these derivatives revealed a robust link between plasmid content and SPI, regardless of prophage genotype. Strains possessing all four plasmids had undetectable phage in cell-free lysates, while strains lacking either one plasmid (pSpoCB-1) or a combination of two plasmids (pSpoCB-2 and pSpoCB-4)more »produced high (>10 5 PFU/mL) phage titers. Homologous plasmid sequences were identified in related bacteria, and plasmid and phage genes were found to be widespread in Tara Oceans metagenomic data sets. This suggests that plasmid-dependent stabilization of prophages may be commonplace throughout the oceans. IMPORTANCE The consequences of prophage induction on the physiology of microbial populations are varied and include enhanced biofilm formation, conferral of virulence, and increased opportunity for horizontal gene transfer. These traits lead to competitive advantages for lysogenized bacteria and influence bacterial lifestyles in a variety of niches. However, biological controls of “spontaneous” prophage induction, the initiation of phage replication and phage-mediated cell lysis without an overt stressor, are not well understood. In this study, we observed a novel interaction between plasmids and prophages in the marine bacterium Sulfitobacter pontiacus . We found that loss of one or more distinct plasmids—which we show carry genes ubiquitous in the world’s oceans—resulted in a marked increase in prophage induction within lysogenized strains. These results demonstrate cross talk between different mobile genetic elements and have implications for our understanding of the lysogenic-lytic switches of prophages found not only in marine environments, but throughout all ecosystems.« less
  3. Rappe, Michael S. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT For the abundant marine Alphaproteobacterium Pelagibacter (SAR11), and other bacteria, phages are powerful forces of mortality. However, little is known about the most abundant Pelagiphages in nature, such as the widespread HTVC023P-type, which is currently represented by two cultured phages. Using viral metagenomic data sets and fluorescence-activated cell sorting, we recovered 80 complete, undescribed Podoviridae genomes that form 10 phylogenomically distinct clades (herein, named Clades I to X) related to the HTVC023P-type. These expanded the HTVC023P-type pan-genome by 15-fold and revealed 41 previously unknown auxiliary metabolic genes (AMGs) in this viral lineage. Numerous instances of partner-AMGs (colocated and involved in related functions) were observed, including partners in nucleotide metabolism, DNA hypermodification, and Curli biogenesis. The Type VIII secretion system (T8SS) responsible for Curli biogenesis was identified in nine genomes and expanded the repertoire of T8SS proteins reported thus far in viruses. Additionally, the identified T8SS gene cluster contained an iron-dependent regulator (FecR), as well as a histidine kinase and adenylate cyclase that can be implicated in T8SS function but are not within T8SS operons in bacteria. While T8SS are lacking in known Pelagibacter , they contribute to aggregation and biofilm formation in other bacteria. Phylogenetic reconstructions of partner-AMGs indicatemore »derivation from cellular lineages with a more recent transfer between viral families. For example, homologs of all T8SS genes are present in syntenic regions of distant Myoviridae Pelagiphages, and they appear to have alphaproteobacterial origins with a later transfer between viral families. The results point to an unprecedented multipartner-AMG transfer between marine Myoviridae and Podoviridae. Together with the expansion of known metabolic functions, our studies provide new prospects for understanding the ecology and evolution of marine phages and their hosts. IMPORTANCE One of the most abundant and diverse marine bacterial groups is Pelagibacter . Phages have roles in shaping Pelagibacter ecology; however, several Pelagiphage lineages are represented by only a few genomes. This paucity of data from even the most widespread lineages has imposed limits on the understanding of the diversity of Pelagiphages and their impacts on hosts. Here, we report 80 complete genomes, assembled directly from environmental data, which are from undescribed Pelagiphages and render new insights into the manipulation of host metabolism during infection. Notably, the viruses have functionally related partner genes that appear to be transferred between distant viruses, including a suite that encode a secretion system which both brings a new functional capability to the host and is abundant in phages across the ocean. Together, these functions have important implications for phage evolution and for how Pelagiphage infection influences host biology in manners extending beyond canonical viral lysis and mortality.« less
  4. Abstract Motivation

    Phage–host associations play important roles in microbial communities. But in natural communities, as opposed to culture-based lab studies where phages are discovered and characterized metagenomically, their hosts are generally not known. Several programs have been developed for predicting which phage infects which host based on various sequence similarity measures or machine learning approaches. These are often based on whole viral and host genomes, but in metagenomics-based studies, we rarely have whole genomes but rather must rely on contigs that are sometimes as short as hundreds of bp long. Therefore, we need programs that predict hosts of phage contigs on the basis of these short contigs. Although most existing programs can be applied to metagenomic datasets for these predictions, their accuracies are generally low. Here, we develop ContigNet, a convolutional neural network-based model capable of predicting phage–host matches based on relatively short contigs, and compare it to previously published VirHostMatcher (VHM) and WIsH.

    Results

    On the validation set, ContigNet achieves 72–85% area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) scores, compared to the maximum of 68% by VHM or WIsH for contigs of lengths between 200 bps to 50 kbps. We also apply the model to the Metagenomic Gut Virus (MGV)more »catalogue, a dataset containing a wide range of draft genomes from metagenomic samples and achieve 60–70% AUROC scores compared to that of VHM and WIsH of 52%. Surprisingly, ContigNet can also be used to predict plasmid-host contig associations with high accuracy, indicating a similar genetic exchange between mobile genetic elements and their hosts.

    Availability and implementation

    The source code of ContigNet and related datasets can be downloaded from https://github.com/tianqitang1/ContigNet.

    « less
  5. Background

    Viruses strongly influence microbial population dynamics and ecosystem functions. However, our ability to quantitatively evaluate those viral impacts is limited to the few cultivated viruses and double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) viral genomes captured in quantitative viral metagenomes (viromes). This leaves the ecology of non-dsDNA viruses nearly unknown, including single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) viruses that have been frequently observed in viromes, but not quantified due to amplification biases in sequencing library preparations (Multiple Displacement Amplification, Linker Amplification or Tagmentation).

    Methods

    Here we designed mock viral communities including both ssDNA and dsDNA viruses to evaluate the capability of a sequencing library preparation approach including an Adaptase step prior to Linker Amplification for quantitative amplification of both dsDNA and ssDNA templates. We then surveyed aquatic samples to provide first estimates of the abundance of ssDNA viruses.

    Results

    Mock community experiments confirmed the biased nature of existing library preparation methods for ssDNA templates (either largely enriched or selected against) and showed that the protocol using Adaptase plus Linker Amplification yielded viromes that were ±1.8-fold quantitative for ssDNA and dsDNA viruses. Application of this protocol to community virus DNA from three freshwater and three marine samples revealed that ssDNA viruses as a whole represent only a minor fraction (<5%)more »of DNA virus communities, though individual ssDNA genomes, both eukaryote-infecting Circular Rep-Encoding Single-Stranded DNA (CRESS-DNA) viruses and bacteriophages from theMicroviridaefamily, can be among the most abundant viral genomes in a sample.

    Discussion

    Together these findings provide empirical data for a new virome library preparation protocol, and a first estimate of ssDNA virus abundance in aquatic systems.

    « less