Viral communities of Shark Bay modern stromatolites

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Frontiers in Microbiology, 2018, 9 (JUN)
Issue Date:
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© 2018 White, Wong, Ruvindy, Neilan and Burns. Single stranded DNA viruses have been previously shown to populate the oceans on a global scale, and are endemic in microbialites of both marine and freshwater systems. We undertook for the first time direct viral metagenomic shotgun sequencing to explore the diversity of viruses in the modern stromatolites of Shark Bay Australia. The data indicate that Shark Bay marine stromatolites have similar diversity of ssDNA viruses to that of Highbourne Cay, Bahamas. ssDNA viruses in cluster uniquely in Shark Bay and Highbourne Cay, potentially due to enrichment by phi29-mediated amplification bias. Further, pyrosequencing data was assembled from the Shark Bay systems into two putative viral genomes that are related to Genomoviridae family of ssDNA viruses. In addition, the cellular fraction was shown to be enriched for antiviral defense genes including CRISPR-Cas, BREX (bacteriophage exclusion), and DISARM (defense island system associated with restriction-modification), a potentially novel finding for these systems. This is the first evidence for viruses in the Shark Bay stromatolites, and these viruses may play key roles in modulating microbial diversity as well as potentially impacting ecosystem function through infection and the recycling of key nutrients.
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