Auxiliary Metabolic Gene Functions in Pelagic and Benthic Viruses of the Baltic Sea.
ABSTRACT: Marine microbial communities are facing various ecosystem fluctuations (e.g., temperature, organic matter concentration, salinity, or redox regimes) and thus have to be highly adaptive. This might be supported by the acquisition of auxiliary metabolic genes (AMGs) originating from virus infections. Marine bacteriophages frequently contain AMGs, which allow them to augment their host's metabolism or enhance virus fitness. These genes encode proteins for the same metabolic functions as their highly similar host homologs. In the present study, we analyzed the diversity, distribution, and composition of marine viruses, focusing on AMGs to identify their putative ecologic role. We analyzed viruses and assemblies of 212 publicly available metagenomes obtained from sediment and water samples across the Baltic Sea. In general, the virus composition in both compartments differed compositionally. While the predominant viral lifestyle was found to be lytic, lysogeny was more prevalent in sediments than in the pelagic samples. The highest proportion of AMGs was identified in the genomes of Myoviridae. Overall, the most abundantly occurring AMGs are encoded for functions that protect viruses from degradation by their hosts, such as methylases. Additionally, some detected AMGs are known to be involved in photosynthesis, 7-cyano-7-deazaguanine synthesis, and cobalamin biosynthesis among other functions. Several AMGs that were identified in this study were previously detected in a large-scale analysis including metagenomes from various origins, i.e., different marine sites, wastewater, and the human gut. This supports the theory of globally conserved core AMGs that are spread over virus genomes, regardless of host or environment.
Project description:Much of the diversity of prokaryotic viruses has yet to be described. In particular, there are no viral isolates that infect abundant, globally significant marine archaea including the phylum Thaumarchaeota. This phylum oxidizes ammonia, fixes inorganic carbon, and thus contributes to globally significant nitrogen and carbon cycles in the oceans. Metagenomics provides an alternative to culture-dependent means for identifying and characterizing viral diversity. Some viruses carry auxiliary metabolic genes (AMGs) that are acquired via horizontal gene transfer from their host(s), allowing inference of what host a virus infects. Here we present the discovery of 15 new genomically and ecologically distinct Thaumarchaeota virus populations, identified as contigs that encode viral capsid and thaumarchaeal ammonia monooxygenase genes (amoC). These viruses exhibit depth and latitude partitioning and are distributed globally in various marine habitats including pelagic waters, estuarine habitats, and hydrothermal plume water and sediments. We found evidence of viral amoC expression and that viral amoC AMGs sometimes comprise up to half of total amoC DNA copies in cellular fraction metagenomes, highlighting the potential impact of these viruses on N cycling in the oceans. Phylogenetics suggest they are potentially tailed viruses and share a common ancestor with related marine Euryarchaeota viruses. This work significantly expands our view of viruses of globally important marine Thaumarchaeota.
Project description:In marine ecosystems, viruses exert control on the composition and metabolism of microbial communities, influencing overall biogeochemical cycling. Deep sea sediments associated with cold seeps are known to host taxonomically diverse microbial communities, but little is known about viruses infecting these microorganisms. Here, we probed metagenomes from seven geographically diverse cold seeps across global oceans to assess viral diversity, virus-host interaction, and virus-encoded auxiliary metabolic genes (AMGs). Gene-sharing network comparisons with viruses inhabiting other ecosystems reveal that cold seep sediments harbour considerable unexplored viral diversity. Most cold seep viruses display high degrees of endemism with seep fluid flux being one of the main drivers of viral community composition. In silico predictions linked 14.2% of the viruses to microbial host populations with many belonging to poorly understood candidate bacterial and archaeal phyla. Lysis was predicted to be a predominant viral lifestyle based on lineage-specific virus/host abundance ratios. Metabolic predictions of prokaryotic host genomes and viral AMGs suggest that viruses influence microbial hydrocarbon biodegradation at cold seeps, as well as other carbon, sulfur and nitrogen cycling via virus-induced mortality and/or metabolic augmentation. Overall, these findings reveal the global diversity and biogeography of cold seep viruses and indicate how viruses may manipulate seep microbial ecology and biogeochemistry.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Viruses influence global patterns of microbial diversity and nutrient cycles. Though viral metagenomics (viromics), specifically targeting dsDNA viruses, has been critical for revealing viral roles across diverse ecosystems, its analyses differ in many ways from those used for microbes. To date, viromics benchmarking has covered read pre-processing, assembly, relative abundance, read mapping thresholds and diversity estimation, but other steps would benefit from benchmarking and standardization. Here we use in silico-generated datasets and an extensive literature survey to evaluate and highlight how dataset composition (i.e., viromes vs bulk metagenomes) and assembly fragmentation impact (i) viral contig identification tool, (ii) virus taxonomic classification, and (iii) identification and curation of auxiliary metabolic genes (AMGs).<h4>Results</h4>The in silico benchmarking of five commonly used virus identification tools show that gene-content-based tools consistently performed well for long (≥3 kbp) contigs, while <i>k</i>-mer- and blast-based tools were uniquely able to detect viruses from short (≤3 kbp) contigs. Notably, however, the performance increase of <i>k</i>-mer- and blast-based tools for short contigs was obtained at the cost of increased false positives (sometimes up to ∼5% for virome and ∼75% bulk samples), particularly when eukaryotic or mobile genetic element sequences were included in the test datasets. For viral classification, variously sized genome fragments were assessed using gene-sharing network analytics to quantify drop-offs in taxonomic assignments, which revealed correct assignations ranging from ∼95% (whole genomes) down to ∼80% (3 kbp sized genome fragments). A similar trend was also observed for other viral classification tools such as VPF-class, ViPTree and VIRIDIC, suggesting that caution is warranted when classifying short genome fragments and not full genomes. Finally, we highlight how fragmented assemblies can lead to erroneous identification of AMGs and outline a best-practices workflow to curate candidate AMGs in viral genomes assembled from metagenomes.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Together, these benchmarking experiments and annotation guidelines should aid researchers seeking to best detect, classify, and characterize the myriad viruses 'hidden' in diverse sequence datasets.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Viruses directly affect the most important biological processes in the ocean via their regulation of prokaryotic and eukaryotic populations. Marine sponges form stable symbiotic partnerships with a wide diversity of microorganisms and this high symbiont complexity makes them an ideal model for studying viral ecology. Here, we used morphological and molecular approaches to illuminate the diversity and function of viruses inhabiting nine sponge species from the Great Barrier Reef and seven from the Red Sea. RESULTS:Viromic sequencing revealed host-specific and site-specific patterns in the viral assemblages, with all sponge species dominated by the bacteriophage order Caudovirales but also containing variable representation from the nucleocytoplasmic large DNA virus families Mimiviridae, Marseilleviridae, Phycodnaviridae, Ascoviridae, Iridoviridae, Asfarviridae and Poxviridae. Whilst core viral functions related to replication, infection and structure were largely consistent across the sponge viromes, functional profiles varied significantly between species and sites largely due to differential representation of putative auxiliary metabolic genes (AMGs) and accessory genes, including those associated with herbicide resistance, heavy metal resistance and nylon degradation. Furthermore, putative AMGs varied with the composition and abundance of the sponge-associated microbiome. For instance, genes associated with antimicrobial activity were enriched in low microbial abundance sponges, genes associated with nitrogen metabolism were enriched in high microbial abundance sponges and genes related to cellulose biosynthesis were enriched in species that host photosynthetic symbionts. CONCLUSIONS:Our results highlight the diverse functional roles that viruses can play in marine sponges and are consistent with our current understanding of sponge ecology. Differential representation of putative viral AMGs and accessory genes across sponge species illustrate the diverse suite of beneficial roles viruses can play in the functional ecology of these complex reef holobionts. Video Abstract.
Project description:Viruses play an important role in the ecology and biogeochemistry of marine ecosystems. Beyond mortality and gene transfer, viruses can reprogram microbial metabolism during infection by expressing auxiliary metabolic genes (AMGs) involved in photosynthesis, central carbon metabolism, and nutrient cycling. While previous studies have focused on AMG diversity in the sunlit and dark ocean, less is known about the role of viruses in shaping metabolic networks along redox gradients associated with marine oxygen minimum zones (OMZs). Here, we analyzed relatively quantitative viral metagenomic datasets that profiled the oxygen gradient across Eastern Tropical South Pacific (ETSP) OMZ waters, assessing whether OMZ viruses might impact nitrogen (N) cycling via AMGs. Identified viral genomes encoded six N-cycle AMGs associated with denitrification, nitrification, assimilatory nitrate reduction, and nitrite transport. The majority of these AMGs (80%) were identified in T4-like Myoviridae phages, predicted to infect Cyanobacteria and Proteobacteria, or in unclassified archaeal viruses predicted to infect Thaumarchaeota. Four AMGs were exclusive to anoxic waters and had distributions that paralleled homologous microbial genes. Together, these findings suggest viruses modulate N-cycling processes within the ETSP OMZ and may contribute to nitrogen loss throughout the global oceans thus providing a baseline for their inclusion in the ecosystem and geochemical models.
Project description:Soil viruses are abundant, but the influence of the environment and climate on soil viruses remains poorly understood. Here, we addressed this gap by comparing the diversity, abundance, lifestyle, and metabolic potential of DNA viruses in three grassland soils with historical differences in average annual precipitation, low in eastern Washington (WA), high in Iowa (IA), and intermediate in Kansas (KS). Bioinformatics analyses were applied to identify a total of 2,631 viral contigs, including 14 complete viral genomes from three deep metagenomes (1 terabase [Tb] each) that were sequenced from bulk soil DNA. An additional three replicate metagenomes (∼0.5 Tb each) were obtained from each location for statistical comparisons. Identified viruses were primarily bacteriophages targeting dominant bacterial taxa. Both viral and host diversity were higher in soil with lower precipitation. Viral abundance was also significantly higher in the arid WA location than in IA and KS. More lysogenic markers and fewer clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) spacer hits were found in WA, reflecting more lysogeny in historically drier soil. More putative auxiliary metabolic genes (AMGs) were also detected in WA than in the historically wetter locations. The AMGs occurring in 18 pathways could potentially contribute to carbon metabolism and energy acquisition in their hosts. Structural equation modeling (SEM) suggested that historical precipitation influenced viral life cycle and selection of AMGs. The observed and predicted relationships between soil viruses and various biotic and abiotic variables have value for predicting viral responses to environmental change. <b>IMPORTANCE</b> Soil viruses are abundant but poorly understood. Because soil viruses regulate the dynamics of their hosts and potentially key processes in soil ecology, it is important to understand them better. Here, we leveraged massive DNA sequencing to unearth previously unknown soil viruses. We found that soil viruses differed across a historical gradient of precipitation. We compared soil viruses from Iowa, which is traditionally wetter, to those from Washington, which is traditionally drier, and from Kansas, which is intermediate. This study provides strong evidence that changes in historical precipitation impact not only the types of soil viruses but also their functional potential.
Project description:Viruses interfere with their host's metabolism through the expression of auxiliary metabolic genes (AMGs) that, until now, are mostly studied under large physicochemical gradients. Here, we focus on coastal marine ecosystems and we sequence the viral metagenome (virome) of samples with discrete levels of human-driven disturbances. We aim to describe the relevance of viromics with respect to ecological quality status, defined by the classic seawater trophic index (TRIX). Neither viral (family level) nor bacterial (family level, based on 16S rRNA sequencing) community structure correlated with TRIX. AMGs involved in the Calvin and tricarboxylic acid cycles were found at stations with poor ecological quality, supporting viral lysis by modifying the host's energy supply. AMGs involved in "non-traditional" energy-production pathways (3HP, sulfur oxidation) were found irrespective of ecological quality, highlighting the importance of recognizing the prevalent metabolic paths and their intermediate byproducts. Various AMGs explained the variability between stations with poor vs. good ecological quality. Our study confirms the pivotal role of the virome content in ecosystem functioning, acting as a "pool" of available functions that may be transferred to the hosts. Further, it suggests that AMGs could be used as an ultra-sensitive metric of energy-production pathways with relevance in the vulnerable coastal zone and its ecological quality.
Project description:Viruses play an essential role in shaping the structure and function of ecological communities. Marine sponges have the capacity to filter large volumes of 'virus-laden' seawater through their bodies and host dense communities of microbial symbionts, which are likely accessible to viral infection. However, despite the potential of sponges and their symbionts to act as viral reservoirs, little is known about the sponge-associated virome. Here we address this knowledge gap by analysing metagenomic and (meta-) transcriptomic datasets from several sponge species to determine what viruses are present and elucidate their predicted and expressed functionality. Sponges were found to carry diverse, abundant and active bacteriophages as well as eukaryotic viruses belonging to the Megavirales and <i>Phycodnaviridae</i>. These viruses contain and express auxiliary metabolic genes (AMGs) for photosynthesis and vitamin synthesis as well as for the production of antimicrobials and the defence against toxins. These viral AMGs can therefore contribute to the metabolic capacities of their hosts and also potentially enhance the survival of infected cells. This suggest that viruses may play a key role in regulating the abundance and activities of members of the sponge holobiont.
Project description:In this study, we analyzed viral metagenomes (viromes) in the sedimentary habitats of three geographically and geologically distinct (hado)pelagic environments in the northwest Pacific; the Izu-Ogasawara Trench (water depth?=?9,760 m) (OG), the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench (10,325 m) (MA), and the forearc basin off the Shimokita Peninsula (1,181 m) (SH). Virus abundance ranged from 10(6) to 10(11) viruses/cm(3) of sediments (down to 30 cm below the seafloor [cmbsf]). We recovered viral DNA assemblages (viromes) from the (hado)pelagic sediment samples and obtained a total of 37,458, 39,882, and 70,882 sequence reads by 454 GS FLX Titanium pyrosequencing from the virome libraries of the OG, MA, and SH (hado)pelagic sediments, respectively. Only 24-30% of the sequence reads from each virome library exhibited significant similarities to the sequences deposited in the public nr protein database (E-value <10(-3) in BLAST). Among the sequences identified as potential viral genes based on the BLAST search, 95-99% of the sequence reads in each library were related to genes from single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) viral families, including Microviridae, Circoviridae, and Geminiviridae. A relatively high abundance of sequences related to the genetic markers (major capsid protein [VP1] and replication protein [Rep]) of two ssDNA viral groups were also detected in these libraries, thereby revealing a high genotypic diversity of their viruses (833 genotypes for VP1 and 2,551 genotypes for Rep). A majority of the viral genes predicted from each library were classified into three ssDNA viral protein categories: Rep, VP1, and minor capsid protein. The deep-sea sedimentary viromes were distinct from the viromes obtained from the oceanic and fresh waters and marine eukaryotes, and thus, deep-sea sediments harbor novel viromes, including previously unidentified ssDNA viruses.
Project description:Rapidly thawing permafrost harbors ?30 to 50% of global soil carbon, and the fate of this carbon remains unknown. Microorganisms will play a central role in its fate, and their viruses could modulate that impact via induced mortality and metabolic controls. Because of the challenges of recovering viruses from soils, little is known about soil viruses or their role(s) in microbial biogeochemical cycling. Here, we describe 53 viral populations (viral operational taxonomic units [vOTUs]) recovered from seven quantitatively derived (i.e., not multiple-displacement-amplified) viral-particle metagenomes (viromes) along a permafrost thaw gradient at the Stordalen Mire field site in northern Sweden. Only 15% of these vOTUs had genetic similarity to publicly available viruses in the RefSeq database, and ?30% of the genes could be annotated, supporting the concept of soils as reservoirs of substantial undescribed viral genetic diversity. The vOTUs exhibited distinct ecology, with different distributions along the thaw gradient habitats, and a shift from soil-virus-like assemblages in the dry palsas to aquatic-virus-like assemblages in the inundated fen. Seventeen vOTUs were linked to microbial hosts (in silico), implicating viruses in infecting abundant microbial lineages from Acidobacteria, Verrucomicrobia, and Deltaproteobacteria, including those encoding key biogeochemical functions such as organic matter degradation. Thirty auxiliary metabolic genes (AMGs) were identified and suggested virus-mediated modulation of central carbon metabolism, soil organic matter degradation, polysaccharide binding, and regulation of sporulation. Together, these findings suggest that these soil viruses have distinct ecology, impact host-mediated biogeochemistry, and likely impact ecosystem function in the rapidly changing Arctic. IMPORTANCE This work is part of a 10-year project to examine thawing permafrost peatlands and is the first virome-particle-based approach to characterize viruses in these systems. This method yielded >2-fold-more viral populations (vOTUs) per gigabase of metagenome than vOTUs derived from bulk-soil metagenomes from the same site (J. B. Emerson, S. Roux, J. R. Brum, B. Bolduc, et al., Nat Microbiol 3:870-880, 2018, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-018-0190-y). We compared the ecology of the recovered vOTUs along a permafrost thaw gradient and found (i) habitat specificity, (ii) a shift in viral community identity from soil-like to aquatic-like viruses, (iii) infection of dominant microbial hosts, and (iv) carriage of host metabolic genes. These vOTUs can impact ecosystem carbon processing via top-down (inferred from lysing dominant microbial hosts) and bottom-up (inferred from carriage of auxiliary metabolic genes) controls. This work serves as a foundation which future studies can build upon to increase our understanding of the soil virosphere and how viruses affect soil ecosystem services.