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Article

Viral Metagenomic Content Reflects Seawater Ecological Quality in the Coastal Zone

1
Institute of Oceanography, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, 71003 Heraklion Crete, Greece
2
Department of Biology, University of Crete, 70013 Heraklion Crete, Greece
3
Institute of Marine Biology, Biotechnology & Aquaculture, 71003 Heraklion Crete, Greece
4
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering Division (BESE), Thuwal 23955-6900, Saudi Arabia
5
Institute of Oceanography, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, 19013 Anavyssos Attiki, Greece
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, ENAC Division, Stream Biofilm and Ecosystem Research Lab, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.
Viruses 2020, 12(8), 806; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12080806
Received: 1 June 2020 / Revised: 20 July 2020 / Accepted: 23 July 2020 / Published: 26 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Aquatic Ecosystems)
Viruses interfere with their host’s metabolism through the expression of auxiliary metabolic genes (AMGs) that, until now, are mostly studied under large physicochemical gradients. Here, we focus on coastal marine ecosystems and we sequence the viral metagenome (virome) of samples with discrete levels of human-driven disturbances. We aim to describe the relevance of viromics with respect to ecological quality status, defined by the classic seawater trophic index (TRIX). Neither viral (family level) nor bacterial (family level, based on 16S rRNA sequencing) community structure correlated with TRIX. AMGs involved in the Calvin and tricarboxylic acid cycles were found at stations with poor ecological quality, supporting viral lysis by modifying the host’s energy supply. AMGs involved in “non-traditional” energy-production pathways (3HP, sulfur oxidation) were found irrespective of ecological quality, highlighting the importance of recognizing the prevalent metabolic paths and their intermediate byproducts. Various AMGs explained the variability between stations with poor vs. good ecological quality. Our study confirms the pivotal role of the virome content in ecosystem functioning, acting as a “pool” of available functions that may be transferred to the hosts. Further, it suggests that AMGs could be used as an ultra-sensitive metric of energy-production pathways with relevance in the vulnerable coastal zone and its ecological quality. View Full-Text
Keywords: community composition; pollution; coastal zone; metagenomics; auxiliary metabolic genes community composition; pollution; coastal zone; metagenomics; auxiliary metabolic genes
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MDPI and ACS Style

Tsiola, A.; Michoud, G.; Fodelianakis, S.; Karakassis, I.; Kotoulas, G.; Pavlidou, A.; Pavloudi, C.; Pitta, P.; Simboura, N.; Daffonchio, D.; Tsapakis, M. Viral Metagenomic Content Reflects Seawater Ecological Quality in the Coastal Zone. Viruses 2020, 12, 806. https://doi.org/10.3390/v12080806

AMA Style

Tsiola A, Michoud G, Fodelianakis S, Karakassis I, Kotoulas G, Pavlidou A, Pavloudi C, Pitta P, Simboura N, Daffonchio D, Tsapakis M. Viral Metagenomic Content Reflects Seawater Ecological Quality in the Coastal Zone. Viruses. 2020; 12(8):806. https://doi.org/10.3390/v12080806

Chicago/Turabian Style

Tsiola, Anastasia, Grégoire Michoud, Stilianos Fodelianakis, Ioannis Karakassis, Georgios Kotoulas, Alexandra Pavlidou, Christina Pavloudi, Paraskevi Pitta, Nomiki Simboura, Daniele Daffonchio, and Manolis Tsapakis. 2020. "Viral Metagenomic Content Reflects Seawater Ecological Quality in the Coastal Zone" Viruses 12, no. 8: 806. https://doi.org/10.3390/v12080806

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