Journal Article

The first known virus isolates from Antarctic sea ice have complex infection patterns

Anne-Mari Luhtanen, Eeva Eronen-Rasimus, Hanna M Oksanen, Jean-Louis Tison, Bruno Delille, Gerhard S Dieckmann, Janne-Markus Rintala and Dennis H Bamford

in FEMS Microbiology Ecology

Volume 94, issue 4 ISSN: 0168-6496
Published online February 2018 | e-ISSN: 1574-6941 | DOI:

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  • Soil Science
  • Biotechnology
  • Genetics and Genomics
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular and Cell Biology


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Viruses are recognized as important actors in ocean ecology and biogeochemical cycles, but many details are not yet understood. We participated in a winter expedition to the Weddell Sea, Antarctica, to isolate viruses and to measure virus-like particle abundance (flow cytometry) in sea ice. We isolated 59 bacterial strains and the first four Antarctic sea-ice viruses known (PANV1, PANV2, OANV1 and OANV2), which grow in bacterial hosts belonging to the typical sea-ice genera Paraglaciecola and Octadecabacter. The viruses were specific for bacteria at the strain level, although OANV1 was able to infect strains from two different classes. Both PANV1 and PANV2 infected 11/15 isolated Paraglaciecola strains that had almost identical 16S rRNA gene sequences, but the plating efficiencies differed among the strains, whereas OANV1 infected 3/7 Octadecabacter and 1/15 Paraglaciecola strains and OANV2 1/7 Octadecabacter strains. All the phages were cold-active and able to infect their original host at 0°C and 4°C, but not at higher temperatures. The results showed that virus–host interactions can be very complex and that the viral community can also be dynamic in the winter-sea ice.

Keywords: virus-host interactions; virus isolation; sea ice microbiology; VLP in sea ice

Journal Article.  10291 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Soil Science ; Biotechnology ; Genetics and Genomics ; Microbiology ; Molecular and Cell Biology

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