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Characterization of Cyanophages in Lake Erie: Interaction Mechanisms and Structural Damage of Toxic Cyanobacteria

1
Department of Food Science and Technology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
2
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
3
College of Public Health, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Toxins 2019, 11(8), 444; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins11080444
Received: 30 May 2019 / Revised: 11 July 2019 / Accepted: 23 July 2019 / Published: 26 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Collection Freshwater HABs and Health in a Changing World)
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Abstract

Cyanophages are abundant in aquatic environments and play a critical role in bloom dynamics, including regulation of cyanobacteria growth and photosynthesis. In this study, cyanophages from western Lake Erie water samples were screened for lytic activity against the host cell (Microcystis aeruginosa), which also originated from Lake Erie, and identified with real-time sequencing (Nanopore sequencing). M. aeruginosa was mixed with the cyanophages and their dynamic interactions were examined over two weeks using atomic force microscopy (AFM) as well as transmission electron microscopy (TEM), qPCR, phycocyanin and chlorophyll-a production, and optical absorbance measurements. The TEM images revealed a short-tailed virus (Podoviridae) in 300 nm size with unique capsid, knob-like proteins. The psbA gene and one knob-like protein gene, gp58, were identified by PCR. The AFM showed a reduction of mechanical stiffness in the host cell membranes over time after infection, before structural damage became visible. Significant inhibition of the host growth and photosynthesis was observed from the measurements of phycocyanin and chlorophyll-a concentrations. The results provide an insight into cyanobacteria–cyanophage interactions in bloom dynamics and a potential application of cyanophages for bloom control in specific situations. View Full-Text
Keywords: Podoviridae; atomic force microscopy; mechanical stiffness; Microcystis; harmful algal bloom Podoviridae; atomic force microscopy; mechanical stiffness; Microcystis; harmful algal bloom
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Jiang, X.; Ha, C.; Lee, S.; Kwon, J.; Cho, H.; Gorham, T.; Lee, J. Characterization of Cyanophages in Lake Erie: Interaction Mechanisms and Structural Damage of Toxic Cyanobacteria. Toxins 2019, 11, 444.

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