Methanosarcina Spherical Virus, a Novel Archaeal Lytic Virus Targeting Methanosarcina Strains.

Weidenbach, Katrin, Nickel, Lisa, Neve, Horst, Alkhnbashi, Omer S., Künzel, Sven, Kupczok, Anneke, Bauersachs, Thorsten, Cassidy, Liam, Tholey, Andreas, Backofen, Rolf, Schmitz, Ruth A. and McFadden, Grant (2017) Methanosarcina Spherical Virus, a Novel Archaeal Lytic Virus Targeting Methanosarcina Strains. Journal of Virology, 91 (22). e00955-17. DOI 10.1128/JVI.00955-17.

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Supplementary data:


A novel archaeal lytic virus targeting species of the genus Methanosarcina was isolated using Methanosarcina mazei strain Gö1 as the host. Due to its spherical morphology, the virus was designated Methanosarcina spherical virus (MetSV). Molecular analysis demonstrated that MetSV contains double-stranded linear DNA with a genome size of 10,567 bp containing 22 open reading frames (ORFs), all oriented in the same direction. Functions were predicted for some of these ORFs, i.e., such as DNA polymerase, ATPase, and DNA-binding protein as well as envelope (structural) protein. MetSV-derived spacers in CRISPR loci were detected in several published Methanosarcina draft genomes using bioinformatic tools, revealing a potential protospacer-adjacent motif (PAM) motif (TTA/T). Transcription and expression of several predicted viral ORFs were validated by reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR), PAGE analysis, and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS)-based proteomics. Analysis of core lipids by atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI) mass spectrometry showed that MetSV and Methanosarcina mazei both contain archaeol and glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraether without a cyclopentane moiety (GDGT-0). The MetSV host range is limited to Methanosarcina strains growing as single cells (M. mazei, Methanosarcina barkeri and Methanosarcina soligelidi). In contrast, strains growing as sarcina-like aggregates were apparently protected from infection. Heterogeneity related to morphology phases in M. mazei cultures allowed acquisition of resistance to MetSV after challenge by growing cultures as sarcina-like aggregates. CRISPR/Cas-mediated resistance was excluded since neither of the two CRISPR arrays showed MetSV-derived spacer acquisition. Based on these findings, we propose that changing the morphology from single cells to sarcina-like aggregates upon rearrangement of the envelope structure prevents infection and subsequent lysis by MetSV.IMPORTANCE Methanoarchaea are among the most abundant organisms on the planet since they are present in high numbers in major anaerobic environments. They convert various carbon sources, e.g., acetate, methylamines, or methanol, to methane and carbon dioxide; thus, they have a significant impact on the emission of major greenhouse gases. Today, very little is known about viruses specifically infecting methanoarchaea that most probably impact the abundance of methanoarchaea in microbial consortia. Here, we characterize the first identified Methanosarcina-infecting virus (MetSV) and show a mechanism for acquiring resistance against MetSV. Based on our results, we propose that growth as sarcina-like aggregates prevents infection and subsequent lysis. These findings allow new insights into the virus-host relationship in methanogenic community structures, their dynamics, and their phase heterogeneity. Moreover, the availability of a specific virus provides new possibilities to deepen our knowledge of the defense mechanisms of potential hosts and offers tools for genetic manipulation.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: CRISPR/Cas; Methanosarcina mazei strain Gö1; methanoarchaea; virus; virus for methanoarchaea
Research affiliation: Kiel University > Kiel Marine Science
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Kiel University
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1128/JVI.00955-17
ISSN: 0022-538X
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2017 10:58
Last Modified: 15 May 2019 13:11

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