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1.  The P-SSP7 Cyanophage Has a Linear Genome with Direct Terminal Repeats 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e36710.
P-SSP7 is a T7-like phage that infects the cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus MED4. MED4 is a member of the high-light-adapted Prochlorococcus ecotypes that are abundant in the surface oceans and contribute significantly to primary production. P-SSP7 has become a model system for the investigation of T7-like phages that infect Prochlorococcus. It was classified as T7-like based on genome content and organization. However, because its genome assembled as a circular molecule, it was thought to be circularly permuted and to lack the direct terminal repeats found in other T7-like phages. Here we sequenced the ends of the P-SSP7 genome and found that the genome map is linear and contains a 206 bp repeat at both genome ends. Furthermore, we found that a 728 bp region of the genome originally placed downstream of the last ORF is actually located upstream of the first ORF on the genome map. These findings suggest that P-SSP7 is likely to use the direct terminal repeats for genome replication and packaging in a similar manner to other T7-like phages. Moreover, these results highlight the importance of experimentally verifying the ends of phage genomes, and will facilitate the use of P-SSP7 as a model for the correct assembly and end determination of the many T7-like phages isolated from the marine environment that are currently being sequenced.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036710
PMCID: PMC3350473  PMID: 22606283
2.  Roseobacter-Like Bacteria in Red and Mediterranean Sea Aerobic Anoxygenic Photosynthetic Populations 
Bacteriochlorophyll a-containing aerobic anoxygenic phototrophs (AAnP) have been proposed to account for up to 11% of the total surface water microbial community and to potentially have great ecological importance in the world's oceans. Recently, environmental and genomic data based on analysis of the pufM gene identified the existence of α-proteobacteria as well as possible γ-like proteobacteria among AAnP in the Pacific Ocean. Here we report on analyses of environmental samples from the Red and Mediterranean Seas by using pufM as well as the bchX and bchL genes as molecular markers. The majority of photosynthesis genes retrieved from these seas were related to Roseobacter-like AAnP sequences. Furthermore, the sequence of a novel photosynthetic operon organization from an uncultured Roseobacter-like bacterial artificial chromosome retrieved from the Red Sea is described. The data show the presence of Roseobacter-like bacteria in Red and Mediterranean Sea AAnP populations in the seasons analyzed.
doi:10.1128/AEM.71.1.344-353.2005
PMCID: PMC544225  PMID: 15640208
3.  New Insights into Metabolic Properties of Marine Bacteria Encoding Proteorhodopsins 
PLoS Biology  2005;3(8):e273.
Proteorhodopsin phototrophy was recently discovered in oceanic surface waters. In an effort to characterize uncultured proteorhodopsin-exploiting bacteria, large-insert bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) libraries from the Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea were analyzed. Fifty-five BACs carried diverse proteorhodopsin genes, and we confirmed the function of five. We calculate that proteorhodopsin-exploiting bacteria account for 13% of microorganisms in the photic zone. We further show that some proteorhodopsin-containing bacteria possess a retinal biosynthetic pathway and a reverse sulfite reductase operon, employed by prokaryotes oxidizing sulfur compounds. Thus, these novel phototrophs are an unexpectedly large and metabolically diverse component of the marine microbial surface water.
Metagenomic analyses of the Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea estimate that proteorhodopsin genes are exploited by a surprisingly high percentage of bacteria. Experimental studies reveal metabolically diverse roles for these phototrophs.
doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0030273
PMCID: PMC1175822  PMID: 16008504

Results 1-3 (3)