Lien vers Pubmed [PMID] – 37749252
Lien DOI – 10.1038/s41564-023-01485-w
Nat Microbiol 2023 Nov; 8(11): 2170-2182
Methanogenic archaea are major producers of methane, a potent greenhouse gas and biofuel, and are widespread in diverse environments, including the animal gut. The ecophysiology of methanogens is likely impacted by viruses, which remain, however, largely uncharacterized. Here we carried out a global investigation of viruses associated with all current diversity of methanogens by assembling an extensive CRISPR database consisting of 156,000 spacers. We report 282 high-quality (pro)viral and 205 virus-like/plasmid sequences assigned to hosts belonging to ten main orders of methanogenic archaea. Viruses of methanogens can be classified into 87 families, underscoring a still largely undiscovered genetic diversity. Viruses infecting gut-associated archaea provide evidence of convergence in adaptation with viruses infecting gut-associated bacteria. These viruses contain a large repertoire of lysin proteins that cleave archaeal pseudomurein and are enriched in glycan-binding domains (Ig-like/Flg_new) and diversity-generating retroelements. The characterization of this vast repertoire of viruses paves the way towards a better understanding of their role in regulating methanogen communities globally, as well as the development of much-needed genetic tools.