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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

The Fennoscandian Shield deep terrestrial virosphere suggests slow motion 'boom and burst' cycles

Holmfeldt, Karin; Nilsson, Emelie; Simone, Domenico; Lopez-Fernandez, Margarita; Wu, Xiaofen; de Bruijn, Ino; Lundin, Daniel; Andersson, Anders F.; Bertilsson, Stefan; Dopson, Mark

Abstract

The deep biosphere contains members from all three domains of life along with viruses. Here we investigate the deep terrestrial virosphere by sequencing community nucleic acids from three groundwaters of contrasting chemistries, origins, and ages. These viromes constitute a highly unique community compared to other environmental viromes and sequenced viral isolates. Viral host prediction suggests that many of the viruses are associated with Firmicutes and Patescibacteria, a superphylum lacking previously described active viruses. RNA transcript-based activity implies viral predation in the shallower marine water-fed groundwater, while the deeper and more oligotrophic waters appear to be in 'metabolic standby'. Viral encoded antibiotic production and resistance systems suggest competition and antagonistic interactions. The data demonstrate a viral community with a wide range of predicted hosts that mediates nutrient recycling to support a higher microbial turnover than previously anticipated. This suggests the presence of 'kill-the-winner' oscillations creating slow motion 'boom and burst' cycles. Karin Holmfeldt et al. sequence metagenomes and metatranscriptomes of viruses in deep groundwaters down to 448m below the surface. The results reveal ecological dynamics of viruses including slow motion 'boom and burst' cycles and a 'kill the winner' model potentially driven by viral predation.

Published in

Communications biology
2021, Volume: 4, number: 1, article number: 307
Publisher: NATURE RESEARCH