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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.01952

Viral infections boost prokaryotic biomass production and organic C cycling in hadal trench sediments

  • 1Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, Polytechnic University of Marche, Italy
  • 2Department of Sciences and Engineering of Matter, Environment and Urban Planning, Faculty of Engineering, Marche Polytechnic University, Italy
  • 3Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Italy
  • 4Research and Development Center for Marine Biosciences, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Japan

Hadal trenches are among the most remote and least explored ecosystems on Earth and can support high benthic microbial standing stocks and activities. However, information on the role of viruses in such ecosystems and their interactions with prokaryotic hosts is very limited. Here, we investigated activities of benthic viruses and prokaryotes and their interactions in three hadal trenches (Japan, Izu-Ogasawara and Mariana trenches) and in their surrounding abyssal sites. Our findings reveal that these hadal trenches, compared with the surrounding abyssal sites, support higher abundances and biomasses of prokaryotes. In addition, the high prokaryotic biomasses of hadal trenches could favour high rates of viral infection and cell lysis, especially in the Japan Trench. Hadal viruses can release large amounts of highly labile and promptly available organic material by inducing cell lysis, which could contribute to sustain benthic prokaryotes and decrease their dependency on the enzymatic digestion of the more refractory fraction of sediment organic matter. Our results suggest that this process can contribute to explain the discrepancy between high prokaryote biomass and apparent low efficiency in the utilization of the sedimentary organic matter in the hadal ecosystems. Hadal trenches may be characterized by highly dynamic viral component, which can enhance prokaryotic biomass production, thereby profoundly influencing the functioning of these remote and extreme ecosystems.

Keywords: Hadal trenches, Viruses, Deep-sea ecosystems, Benthic prokaryotes, viral lysis

Received: 08 Mar 2019; Accepted: 08 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Manea, Corinaldesi, Dell'Anno, Rastelli, Tangherlini, Nunoura, Nomaki and Roberto. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Cinzia Corinaldesi, Department of Sciences and Engineering of Matter, Environment and Urban Planning, Faculty of Engineering, Marche Polytechnic University, Ancona, Italy,