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Keywords:

  • host–virus interactions;
  • functional genomics;
  • Phycodnaviridae;
  • marine microbial ecology;
  • marine transcriptomics

Abstract

Lytic viruses have been implicated in the massive cellular lysis observed during algal blooms, through which they assume a prominent role in oceanic carbon and nutrient flows. Despite their impact on biogeochemical cycling, the transcriptional dynamics of these important oceanic events is still poorly understood. Here, we employ an oligonucleotide microarray to monitor host (Emiliania huxleyi) and virus (coccolithovirus) transcriptomic features during the course of E. huxleyi blooms induced in seawater-based mesocosm enclosures. Host bloom development and subsequent coccolithovirus infection was associated with a major shift in transcriptional profile. In addition to the expected metabolic requirements typically associated with viral infection (amino acid and nucleotide metabolism, as well as transcription- and replication-associated functions), the results strongly suggest that the manipulation of lipid metabolism plays a fundamental role during host–virus interaction. The results herein reveal the scale, so far massively underestimated, of the transcriptional domination that occurs during coccolithovirus infection in the natural environment.