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Photosynthesis genes in marine viruses yield proteins during host infection
Lindell, D.; Jaffe, J.D.; Johnson, Z.I.; Church, G.M.; Chisholm, S.W. (2005). Photosynthesis genes in marine viruses yield proteins during host infection. Nature (Lond.) 437(7061): 10.1038/nature04111
In: Nature: International Weekly Journal of Science. Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 0028-0836, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Lindell, D.
  • Jaffe, J.D.
  • Johnson, Z.I.
  • Church, G.M.
  • Chisholm, S.W.

    Cyanobacteria, and the viruses (phages) that infect them, aresignificant contributors to the oceanic ‘gene pool. This pool isdynamic, and the transfer of genetic material between hosts andtheir phages probably influences the genetic and functionaldiversity of both. For example, photosynthesis genes of cyanobacterialorigin have been found in phages that infect Prochlorococcusand Synechococcus, the numerically dominant phototrophsin ocean ecosystems. These genes include psbA, which encodes thephotosystem II core reaction centre protein D1, and high-lightinducible(hli) genes. Here we show that phage psbA and hli genesare expressed during infection of Prochlorococcus and are cotranscribedwith essential phage capsid genes, and that theamount of phage D1 protein increases steadily over the infectiveperiod. We also show that the expression of host photosynthesisgenes declines over the course of infection and that replication ofthe phage genome is a function of photosynthesis. We thuspropose that the phage genes are functional in photosynthesisand that they may be increasing phage fitness by supplementingthe host production of these proteins.

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