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Open AccessArticle

Communities of Phytoplankton Viruses across the Transition Zone of the St. Lawrence Estuary

1
Département de Biochimie, de Microbiologie et de Bio-Informatique, Université Laval, Québec City, QC G1V 0A6, Canada
2
Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l’Université Laval-Québec, Québec City, QC G1V 4G2, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Viruses 2018, 10(12), 672; https://doi.org/10.3390/v10120672
Received: 31 October 2018 / Revised: 21 November 2018 / Accepted: 22 November 2018 / Published: 27 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue CSV2018: The 2nd symposium of the Canadian Society for Virology (CSV))
The St. Lawrence hydrographic system includes freshwater, brackish, and marine habitats, and is the largest waterway in North America by volume. The food-webs in these habitats are ultimately dependent on phytoplankton. Viral lysis is believed to be responsible for a major part of phytoplankton mortality. To better understand their role, we characterized the diversity and distribution of two viral taxa infecting phytoplankton: the picornaviruses and phycodnaviruses. Our study focused on the estuary transition zone, which is an important nursery for invertebrates and fishes. Both viral taxa were investigated by PCR amplification of conserved molecular markers and next-generation sequencing at six sites, ranging from freshwater to marine. Our results revealed few shared viral phylotypes between saltwater and freshwater sites. Salinity appeared to be the primary determinant of viral community composition. Moreover, our analysis indicated that the viruses identified in this region of the St. Lawrence diverge from classified viruses and homologous published environmental virotypes. These results suggest that DNA and RNA viruses infecting phytoplankton are likely active in the estuary transition zone, and that this region harbors its own unique viral assemblages. View Full-Text
Keywords: aquatic viruses; DNA Polymerase B; Phycodnaviridae; Picornavirales; RNA-dependent RNA polymerase; St. Lawrence Estuary; viral ecology aquatic viruses; DNA Polymerase B; Phycodnaviridae; Picornavirales; RNA-dependent RNA polymerase; St. Lawrence Estuary; viral ecology
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Labbé, M.; Raymond, F.; Lévesque, A.; Thaler, M.; Mohit, V.; Audet, M.; Corbeil, J.; Culley, A. Communities of Phytoplankton Viruses across the Transition Zone of the St. Lawrence Estuary. Viruses 2018, 10, 672.

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