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Creators/Authors contains: "Bhattacharjee, Ananda S."

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  1. Abstract

    The oceanic igneous crust is a vast reservoir for microbial life, dominated by diverse and active bacteria, archaea, and fungi. Archaeal and bacterial viruses were previously detected in oceanic crustal fluids at the Juan de Fuca Ridge (JdFR). Here we report the discovery of two eukaryotic Nucleocytoviricota genomes from the same crustal fluids by sorting and sequencing single virions. Both genomes have a tRNATyr gene with an intron (20 bps) at the canonical position between nucleotide 37 and 38, a common feature in eukaryotic and archaeal tRNA genes with short introns (<100 bps), and fungal genes acquired through horizontal gene transfer (HGT) events. The dominance of Ascomycota fungi as the main eukaryotes in crustal fluids and the evidence for HGT point to these fungi as the putative hosts, making these the first putative fungi-Nucleocytoviricota specific association. Our study suggests active host-viral dynamics for the only eukaryotic group found in the subsurface oceanic crust and raises important questions about the impact of viral infection on the productivity and biogeochemical cycling in this ecosystem.

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