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    STUDIA BIOLOGIA - Issue no. 1 / 2019  
         
  Article:   MICROBIAL INTERACTIONS IN THE DEAD SEA AS REFLECTED BY ENRICHMENT CULTURES: THE CURIOUS CASE OF NANOHALOARCHAEA.

Authors:  URI NERI, YUTIAN FENG, J. PETER GOGARTEN, URI GOPHNA.
 
       
         
  Abstract:   Since their initial discovery in late 2011, the lifestyle of Nanohaloarchaea has been shrouded in mystery, leading to an ongoing debate regarding their host dependence, and placement on the evolutionary tree of life. Recently we carried out a survey of the viral and microbial communities from current day Dead Sea, and combined direct visualization by TEM with metagenomic sequencing. Our survey revealed a large variety of viruses and hosts that still persist in the environment, despite the gradual evaporation of the dying Dead Sea. Strikingly, when we fractionated by filter size we observed a large morphological variety of viruses and small cells. We then continued to investigate these intriguing entities by serially propagating the environmental microbial seed in several distinct enriched growth media. By comparing the different microbial communities (via both TEM and metagenomic sequencing) between different media and along culture and time points, we were able to determine multiple interactions between both the viruses and their hosts, as well as between the newly discovered small-sized cellular entities. We obtained an enrichment culture composed almost exclusively of a representative of the Nanohaloarchaea, and using metagenomics we were able to obtain the first complete closed circular genome of it, including an integrated provirus. Different enrichment cultures had different distinct species of Nanohaloarchaea, along with a number of completely novel viruses, expanding the known haloarchaeal - viral repertoire.

Keywords: computational genomics, halophilic archaea, horizontal gene transfer, host, metagenomics, virus.
 
         
     
         
         
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