The impact of viral infection on the chemistries of the Earth’s most abundant photosynthesisers: metabolically talented aquatic cyanobacteria

Yunpeng Wang*, Scarlet Ferrinho, Helen Connaris, Rebecca Goss*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Cyanobacteria are the most abundant photosynthesizers on earth, and as such, they play a central role in marine metabolite generation, ocean nutrient cycling, and the control of planetary oxygen generation. Cyanobacteriophage infection exerts control on all of these critical processes of the planet, with the phage-ported homologs of genes linked to photosynthesis, catabolism, and secondary metabolism (marine metabolite generation). Here, we analyze the 153 fully sequenced cyanophages from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) database and the 45 auxiliary metabolic genes (AMGs) that they deliver into their hosts. Most of these AMGs are homologs of those found within cyanobacteria and play a key role in cyanobacterial metabolism-encoding proteins involved in photosynthesis, central carbon metabolism, phosphate metabolism, methylation, and cellular regulation. A greater understanding of cyanobacteriophage infection will pave the way to a better understanding of carbon fixation and nutrient cycling, as well as provide new tools for synthetic biology and alternative approaches for the use of cyanobacteria in biotechnology and sustainable manufacturing.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1218
Number of pages29
JournalBiomolecules
Volume13
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Aug 2023

Keywords

  • Cyanophages
  • Cyanobacterial
  • AMGs
  • Photosynthesis
  • Central carbon metabolism
  • Phosphate metabolism
  • Methylation
  • Regulatory factor

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