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  1. Abstract

    The fate of oceanic carbon and nutrients depends on interactions between viruses, prokaryotes, and unicellular eukaryotes (protists) in a highly interconnected planktonic food web. To date, few controlled mechanistic studies of these interactions exist, and where they do, they are largely pairwise, focusing either on viral infection (i.e., virocells) or protist predation. Here we studied population-level responses ofSynechococcuscyanobacterial virocells (i.e., cyanovirocells) to the protistOxyrrhis marinausing transcriptomics, endo- and exo-metabolomics, photosynthetic efficiency measurements, and microscopy. Protist presence had no measurable impact onSynechococcustranscripts or endometabolites. The cyanovirocells alone had a smaller intracellular transcriptional and metabolic response than cyanovirocells co-cultured with protists, displaying known patterns of virus-mediated metabolic reprogramming while releasing diverse exometabolites during infection. When protists were added, several exometabolites disappeared, suggesting microbial consumption. In addition, the intracellular cyanovirocell impact was largest, with 4.5- and 10-fold more host transcripts and endometabolites, respectively, responding to protists, especially those involved in resource and energy production. Physiologically, photosynthetic efficiency also increased, and together with the transcriptomics and metabolomics findings suggest that cyanovirocell metabolic demand is highest when protists are present. These data illustrate cyanovirocell responses to protist presence that are not yet considered when linking microbial physiology to global-scale biogeochemical processes.

  2. Abstract

    Microbial communities in oxygen minimum zones (OMZs) are known to have significant impacts on global biogeochemical cycles, but viral influence on microbial processes in these regions are much less studied. Here we provide baseline ecological patterns using microscopy and viral metagenomics from the Eastern Tropical North Pacific (ETNP) OMZ region that enhance our understanding of viruses in these climate-critical systems. While extracellular viral abundance decreased below the oxycline, viral diversity and lytic infection frequency remained high within the OMZ, demonstrating that viral influences on microbial communities were still substantial without the detectable presence of oxygen. Viral community composition was strongly related to oxygen concentration, with viral populations in low-oxygen portions of the water column being distinct from their surface layer counterparts. However, this divergence was not accompanied by the expected differences in viral-encoded auxiliary metabolic genes (AMGs) relating to nitrogen and sulfur metabolisms that are known to be performed by microbial communities in these low-oxygen and anoxic regions. Instead, several abundant AMGs were identified in the oxycline and OMZ that may modulate host responses to low-oxygen stress. We hypothesize that this is due to selection for viral-encoded genes that influence host survivability rather than modulating host metabolic reactions withinmore »the ETNP OMZ. Together, this study shows that viruses are not only diverse throughout the water column in the ETNP, including the OMZ, but their infection of microorganisms has the potential to alter host physiological state within these biogeochemically important regions of the ocean.

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  3. 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).


    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.


    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.


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

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