Dynamics of Baltic Sea phages driven by environmental changes

Matthias Hoetzinger*, Emelie Nilsson, Rahaf Arabi, Christofer M.G. Osbeck, Benjamin Pontiller, Geoffrey Hutinet, Oliver W. Bayfield, Sachia Traving, Veljo Kisand, Daniel Lundin, Jarone Pinhassi, Mathias Middelboe, Karin Holmfeldt*


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Phage predation constitutes a major mortality factor for bacteria in aquatic ecosystems, and thus, directly impacts nutrient cycling and microbial community dynamics. Yet, the population dynamics of specific phages across time scales from days to months remain largely unexplored, which limits our understanding of their influence on microbial succession. To investigate temporal changes in diversity and abundance of phages infecting particular host strains, we isolated 121 phage strains that infected three bacterial hosts during a Baltic Sea mesocosm experiment. Genome analysis revealed a novel Flavobacterium phage genus harboring gene sets putatively coding for synthesis of modified nucleotides and glycosylation of bacterial cell surface components. Another novel phage genus revealed a microdiversity of phage species that was largely maintained during the experiment and across mesocosms amended with different nutrients. In contrast to the newly described Flavobacterium phages, phages isolated from a Rheinheimera strain were highly similar to previously isolated genotypes, pointing to genomic consistency in this population. In the mesocosm experiment, the investigated phages were mainly detected after a phytoplankton bloom peak. This concurred with recurrent detection of the phages in the Baltic Proper during summer months, suggesting an influence on the succession of heterotrophic bacteria associated with phytoplankton blooms.

TidsskriftEnvironmental Microbiology
Udgave nummer8
Sider (fra-til)4576-4594
StatusUdgivet - aug. 2021

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Sabina Arnautovic for isolation of bacterial strains and Zainab Zafar for helping with phage host range tests. We further acknowledge the National Genomics Infrastructure funded by Science for Life Laboratory, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and the Swedish Research Council, and SNIC/Uppsala Multidisciplinary Center for Advanced Computational Science for assistance with massively parallel sequencing and access to the UPPMAX computational infrastructure. The data handling was enabled by resources provided by the Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing (SNIC) at UPPMAX partially funded by the Swedish Research Council through grant agreement no. 2018‐05973. The project was funded by a grant from the Swedish Research Council (2013‐4554) to K.H. and a grant from the Crafoord Foundation (CR2019‐0034) to M.H. The research was supported by the BONUS BLUEPRINT project, which has received funding from BONUS, the joint Baltic Sea research and development programme (Art 185) and the Swedish research council FORMAS. This study was also funded by the strategic research environment EcoChange.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Environmental Microbiology published by Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


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