AME 27:233-239 (2002)  -  doi:10.3354/ame027233

Pseudoalteromonas spp. phages, a significant group of marine bacteriophages in the North Sea

Antje Wichels*, Gunnar Gerdts, Christian Schütt

Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Biologische Anstalt Helgoland, 27498 Helgoland, Germany

ABSTRACT: The occurrence and distribution of specific bacteriophages of marine Pseudoalteromonas spp. in the North Sea (North Sea phages) and their genetic relationship to several previously isolated marine phage species from waters of the Helgoland Roads (German Bight, Helgoland phages) were investigated. During 3 cruises from the Elbe estuary to western Norwegian waters, phages were concentrated by ultrafiltration. Detection and isolation of North Sea phages were performed by plaque assay, with 70 host bacteria of the genus Pseudoalteromonas. The genetic relationship between North Sea phages from different stations and Helgoland phages, formerly described as Pseudoalteromonas spp. phages, was assessed by DNA-DNA hybridization. DNA probes were prepared using whole phage DNA derived from 13 Helgoland phages. This approach provides the first information on the distribution of specific Pseudoalteromonas spp. phage-host systems (PHS) in the North Sea. The occurrence of Pseudoalteromonas spp. phages, which are specific for the tested Pseudoalteromonas spp. host bacteria, was restricted to a narrow geographical region of the German Bight between 53°30¹ and 57°00¹N latitude. Most of the previously isolated Helgoland phages were highly host specific (54%), whereas this was true for only some of the 39 North Sea phages (16%). The most common Pseudoalteromonas spp. phage species found in the North Sea belong to the virus family Siphoviridae (species H103/1). Several phage strains within this phage species displayed different host sensitivity patterns.

KEY WORDS: Marine phages · Pseudoalteromonas · Phage DNA probes · North Sea

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