Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 36385454
Link to DOI – 10.1111/1462-2920.16287
Environ Microbiol 2023 Feb; 25(2): 367-382
During the past decade, metagenomics became a method of choice for the discovery of novel viruses. However, host assignment for uncultured viruses remains challenging, especially for archaeal viruses, which are grossly undersampled compared to viruses of bacteria and eukaryotes. Here, we assessed the utility of CRISPR spacer targeting, tRNA gene matching and homology searches for viral signature proteins, such as major capsid proteins, for the assignment of archaeal hosts and validated these approaches on metaviromes from Yangshan Harbor (YSH). We report 35 new genomes of viruses which could be confidently assigned to hosts representing diverse lineages of marine archaea. We show that the archaeal YSH virome is highly diverse, with some viruses enriching the previously described virus groups, such as magroviruses of Marine Group II Archaea (Poseidoniales), and others representing novel groups of marine archaeal viruses. Metagenomic recruitment of Tara Oceans datasets on the YSH viral genomes demonstrated the presence of YSH Poseidoniales and Nitrososphaeria viruses in the global oceans, but also revealed the endemic YSH-specific viral lineages. Furthermore, our results highlight the relationship between the soil and marine thaumarchaeal viruses. We propose three new families within the class Caudoviricetes for the classification of the five complete viral genomes predicted to replicate in marine Poseidoniales and Nitrososphaeria, two ecologically important and widespread archaeal groups. This study illustrates the utility of viral metagenomics in exploring the archaeal virome and provides new insights into the diversity, distribution and evolution of marine archaeal viruses.