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Journal Club: understanding the role of temperature in viral distributions

Posted by jlgreen on 18 Feb 2008 at 08:03 GMT

By measuring a few environmental parameters such as water temperature, salinity, depth, and TSI (“cloudiness”), the authors were able to demonstrate that the presence (or relative abundance?) of host-derived viral gene families was significantly correlated with temperature, whereas the distribution of the tailed phage-associated and P-SSM4-like sequences was not significantly correlated with any measured abiotic parameters (Table S7). What is the biological unpinning of this difference?

RE: Journal Club: understanding the role of temperature in viral distributions

shanca replied to jlgreen on 26 Feb 2008 at 18:02 GMT

It was interesting that there was no direct correlation seen between water temperature and tailed phages or P-SSM4-like viruses. Especially since there were positive relationships between myovirus sequences and 6/8 gene families and PSSM4-like sequences and 4/8 gene families (which were correlated with water temp). The most plausible explanation is that the viruses carrying analogs of the host metabolic genes that we discuss in the paper are probably cyanophages. This doesn't help to explain why there wasn't a correlation between the PSSM4-like viral sequences (presumably a cyanophage) and water temperature. These sequences, and those attributed to Prochlorococcus, were most abundant in tropical waters, so the lack of an obvious relationship is puzzling; variation in the data may be partially responsible for this.