Little is known about the diversity and distribution of viruses infecting green sulfur bacteria (GSB) thriving in euxinic (sulfuric and anoxic) habitats, including gypsum karst lake ecosystems. In this study, we used targeted cell sorting combined with single-cell sequencing to gain insights into the gene content and genomic potential of viruses infecting sulfur-oxidizing bacteria Chlorobium clathratiforme
, obtained from water samples collected during summer stratification in gypsum karst Lake Kirkilai (Lithuania). In total, 82 viral contigs were bioinformatically identified in 62 single amplified genomes (SAGs) of C. clathratiforme
. The majority of viral gene and protein sequences showed little to no similarity with phage sequences in public databases, uncovering the vast diversity of previously undescribed GSB viruses. We observed a high level of lysogenization in the C. clathratiforme
population, as 87% SAGs contained intact prophages. Among the thirty identified auxiliary metabolic genes (AMGs), two, thiosulfate sulfurtransferase (TST) and thioredoxin-dependent phosphoadenosine phosphosulfate (PAPS) reductase (cysH), were found to be involved in the oxidation of inorganic sulfur compounds, suggesting that viruses can influence the metabolism and cycling of this essential element. Finally, the analysis of CRISPR spacers retrieved from the consensus C. clathratiforme
genome imply persistent and active virus–host interactions for several putative phages prevalent among C. clathratiforme
SAGs. Overall, this study provides a glimpse into the diversity of phages associated with naturally occurring and highly abundant sulfur-oxidizing bacteria.
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