Applied and environmental microbiology

Discovery of two novel viruses expands the diversity of single-stranded DNA and single-stranded RNA viruses infecting a cosmopolitan marine diatom.

PMID 25452289


Recent studies have suggested that diatom viruses are an important factor affecting diatom population dynamics, which in turn are important in considering marine primary productivity. The marine planktonic diatom Chaetoceros tenuissimus Meunier is a cosmopolitan species and often causes blooms off the western coast of Japan. To date, two viruses, C. tenuissimus DNA virus (CtenDNAV) type I and CtenRNAV type I, have been identified that potentially affect C. tenuissimus population dynamics in the natural environment. In this study, we successfully isolated and characterized two additional novel viruses (CtenDNAV type II and CtenRNAV type II). This paper reports the basic characteristics of these new viruses isolated from surface water or sediment from the Hiroshima Bay, Japan. The physiological and morphological characteristics of the two new viruses were similar to those of the previously isolated viruses. However, the amino acid sequences of the structural proteins of CtenDNAV type II and CtenRNAV type II were clearly distinct from those of both type I viruses, with identity scores of 38.3% and 27.6%, respectively. Our results suggest that at least four genetically distinct viruses sharing the same diatom host are present in western Japan and affect the population dynamics of C. tenuissimus. Moreover, the result that CtenRNAV type II lysed multiple diatom species indicates that RNA viruses may affect various diatom populations in the natural environment.