Marine cyanophages and light

Environ Microbiol. 2006 Dec;8(12):2074-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2006.01171.x.


In contrast to the phages of heterotrophic hosts, light can play a key role in all aspects of the life cycle of phages infecting ecologically important marine unicellular cyanobacteria of the genera Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus. Phage adsorption, replication, modulation of the host cell metabolism, and survival in the environment following lysis, all exhibit light-dependent components. The analysis of cyanophage genomes has revealed the acquisition of key photosynthetic genes during the course of evolution, such as those encoding central components of the light harvesting apparatus. These discoveries are beginning to reveal novel features of the interactions between parasite and host that shape the biology of both.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteriophages / metabolism*
  • Bacteriophages / pathogenicity
  • Cyanobacteria / metabolism
  • Cyanobacteria / virology*
  • Ecology
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Light
  • Lysogeny / physiology
  • Phototrophic Processes / physiology*
  • Seawater / microbiology
  • Seawater / virology