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Aquatic Microbial Ecology

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AME 58:109-116 (2010)  -  DOI:

Isolation of Emiliania huxleyi viruses from the Gulf of Maine

James M. Vaughn1,*, William M. Balch2, James F. Novotny1, Cathy L. Vining1, Christopher D. Palmer1, David T. Drapeau2, Emily Booth2, James M. Vaughn Jr.1, Dustin M. Kneifel1, Allen L. Bell1

1Department of Microbiology, College of Osteopathic Medicine, University of New England, Biddeford, Maine 04005, USA
2Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, PO Box 475, W. Boothbay Harbor, Maine 04575, USA

ABSTRACT: Viruses infective to the marine coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi were isolated from waters of the Gulf of Maine during May and June of 2004, a period when ambient E. huxleyi concentrations were minimal. Three DNA-containing, ether-insensitive virus isolates possessed icosahedral symmetry, and were 130 to 160 nm in diameter. All isolates caused complete lysis of host cultures within 4 d, produced large plaques on host lawns in agarose and were stable at –72°C for at least 18 mo. Originally propagated on the 88E strain of E. huxleyi, none of the viral isolates were able to infect related host strains, including several that were native to the Gulf of Maine. They were also noninfectious for strains of Synechococcus and Micromonas pusilla. One-step growth studies showed a high level of virus propagation during the first 24 h, a period when corresponding host populations were quite stable. This finding led us to speculate that virus progeny might be leaking from intact hosts during this period, with eventual host lysis occurring later. The viruses appeared to be highly infectious, with multiplicities of infection (MOI) as low as 10–5 clearing host cultures within 96 h. Similar efficiencies were seen when host concentrations were as low as 102 cells ml–1. An additional isolate, which appeared to possess similar characteristics to the above viruses, exhibited an unusually rapid growth cycle, with host lysis occurring within 5 h post infection.

KEY WORDS: Emiliania huxleyi · Viruses · Growth dynamics

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Cite this article as: Vaughn JM, Balch WM, Novotny JF, Vining CL and others (2010) Isolation of Emiliania huxleyi viruses from the Gulf of Maine. Aquat Microb Ecol 58:109-116.

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