Single-cell genomics uncover Pelagibacter as the putative host of the extremely abundant uncultured 37-F6 viral population in the ocean

ISME J. 2019 Jan;13(1):232-236. doi: 10.1038/s41396-018-0278-7. Epub 2018 Sep 18.


The identification of relevant virus-host pairs that globally account for a large pool of carbon and nutrients in the ocean is paramount to build accurate ecological models. A previous work using single-virus genomics led to the discovery of the uncultured single-virus vSAG 37-F6, originally sorted from the Mediterranean Sea (Blanes Bay Microbial Observatory), that represents one of the most abundant dsDNA viral population in the marine surface virosphere. Here, from same sampling site, we report that a Pelagibacter single-cell contained a viral member of vSAG 37-F6 population, by means of PCR screening of sorted, genome-amplified single cells with vSAG 37-F6-specific primers and whole-genome sequencing. Furthermore, viruses from this population were also found in three other Pelagibacter single cells from the South Pacific and Atlantic oceans. These new uncultured pelagiphages were genetically different from the previously characterized pelagiphage isolates. Data showed that the uncultured vSAG 37-F6 population represents the Pelagibacter phages that inhabit the sunlit ocean better, and contains a vast unrecognized microdiversity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alphaproteobacteria / virology*
  • Bacteriophages / genetics*
  • Bacteriophages / isolation & purification*
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • Genome, Viral
  • Genomics
  • Oceans and Seas
  • Seawater / virology*


  • DNA, Viral