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Shedding new light on viral photosynthesis

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Richard J Puxty, Andrew D Millard, David J Evans, David J Scanlan

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Abstract

Viruses infecting the environmentally important marine cyanobacteria Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus encode 'auxiliary metabolic genes' (AMGs) involved in the light and dark reactions of photosynthesis. Here, we discuss progress on the inventory of such AMGs in the ever-increasing number of viral genome sequences as well as in metagenomic datasets. We contextualise these gene acquisitions with reference to a hypothesised fitness gain to the phage. We also report new evidence with regard to the sequence and predicted structural properties of viral petE genes encoding the soluble electron carrier plastocyanin. Viral copies of PetE exhibit extensive modifications to the N-terminal signal peptide and possess several novel residues in a region responsible for interaction with redox partners. We also highlight potential knowledge gaps in this field and discuss future opportunities to discover novel phage-host interactions involved in the photosynthetic process.
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Original languageEnglish
JournalPhotosynthesis Research
DOIs
StatePublished - 9 Nov 2014

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