1. Ecology
  2. Microbiology and Infectious Disease
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Viruses: Gene swapping in the dead zone

  1. Jillian Petersen  Is a corresponding author
  2. Nicole Dubilier  Is a corresponding author
  1. Max Planck Institute of Marine Microbiology, Germany
Cite this article as: eLife 2014;3:e04600 doi: 10.7554/eLife.04600
1 figure


Interactions between viruses and bacteria in the Saanich Inlet marine ‘dead zone’.

In summer, viruses from the order Caudovirales (orange) and the family Microviridae (blue) become abundant at depths where the water contains very little oxygen (pale blue regions) because their hosts, SUP05 bacteria (black), are also abundant in these oxygen minimum zones. The viruses can shuttle bacterial genes between different host cells (A). This can lead to changes in the metabolism of the host bacteria if the new genes are expressed by the host cells (B). Co-infection of a host cell by two different viruses could lead to new combinations of genes in the bacterial genome (C).

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