Navigation Links
Yellowstone viruses 'jump' between hot pools
Date:11/12/2007

A population study of microbes in Yellowstone National Park hot pools suggests viruses might be buoyed by steam to distant pools. The result, to be published online next week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could help to answer some fundamental questions about how microbes, and the viruses that infect them, impact their environment. Researchers at Montana State University and Idaho National Laboratory embarked on one of the first comprehensive, long-term characterizations of hot pool ecosystems in Yellowstone National Park. The results help shed light on how viruses survive in hostile surroundings, migrate from pool to pool, and may help control hot pool environments.

A big question for biologists is how much microbes and their predators contribute to creating the acidic, mineral-heavy environment in geothermal features. In the laboratory, microbes like sulfur-eating Sulfolobus, which is found in hot pools around the world, will lower the acidity of the surrounding water to their comfort level. Viruses that infect hot pool microbes may have a similar effect on their environment by keeping certain populations in check.

To investigate the impact of viruses on their ecosystems, researchers at the Montana State University Thermal Biology Institute, with the help of Idaho National Laboratory, sampled three distinct Yellowstone hot pools over the course of two years. Initially, the team looked for a relationship between pool conditions and microbe population. But while the populations of different viruses fluctuated wildly, pool conditions stayed the same.

Instead, the researchers found something surprising changes in Sulfolobus virus populations suggested the viruses were migrating from pool to pool. The researchers set out to determine how migration to pools miles away might occur. Since subterranean water temperatures are so high, underground migration seemed unlikely. Following a hunch, the researchers found viruses in the air column above pools, suggesting the viruses might be buoyed from pool to pool in droplets of steam.

Strangely, viruses thrived in pools even if their chosen hosts were relatively rare. Sulfolobus viruses are not hearty. Most survive only a few hours in the acidic water outside a host. If Sulfolobus is common microbe in a hot pool, a virus next victim might be too far away to reach. Still, the study suggests the viruses are successful in infecting microbes, even if new hosts are rare and separated by hostile waters. The viruses might also be capable of infecting a wider range of microbes than researchers now know. Its really a mystery how these viruses could have evolved if they cant survive in hot pools by themselves, says Idaho National Laboratory microbiology Frank Roberto, who sequenced and analyzed the virus DNA. To reproduce, these viruses need to leave their hosts. Then theyre entering a really hostile environment.

Learning how viruses interact with their thermoacidophilic hosts may become increasingly important as microbes are adapted for a number of large-scale energy applications, from cleaning coal plant smokestacks to processing cellulose for ethanol.

A greater understanding of the significance of viruses in Yellowstone thermal features is still on the horizon, Roberto says. Were in uncharted territory in terms of understanding how these viruses impact the ecosystem of these pools, he says. When viruses leave their hosts, they sometimes carry bits of host DNA with them. Roberto speculates Yellowstone viruses may transport genetic information from one pool to another, impacting the evolution of microbes across the park.


'/>"/>

Contact: Rachel Courtland
rachel.courtland@inl.gov
208-526-4595
DOE/Idaho National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Wolves find happy hunting grounds in Yellowstone National Park
2. Features of replication suggest viruses have common themes, vulnerabilities
3. Gamma globulin effective in treating eye infections caused by adenoviruses
4. Discovery may help defang viruses
5. Prions and retroviruses -- an unholy alliance?
6. Study proposes new theory of how viruses may contribute to cancer
7. Iowa State researchers develop technology for early detection of viruses
8. Jumping genes could make for safer gene delivery system
9. KGI professor contributes new insights on jumping genes
10. Research sheds new light on how diseases jump across species
11. Study shows link between alcohol consumption and hiv disease progression
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/12/2016)... May 12, 2016 WearablesResearch.com , a ... the overview results from the Q1 wave of its ... wave was consumers, receptivity to a program where they ... a health insurance company. "We were surprised ... says Michael LaColla , CEO of Troubadour Research, ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... 2016  Neurotechnology, a provider of high-precision biometric ... Biometric Identification System (ABIS) , a complete system ... ABIS can process multiple complex biometric transactions with ... fingerprint, face or iris biometrics. It leverages the ... MegaMatcher Accelerator , which have been used ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... Sweden , April 28, 2016 First ... M (139.9), up 966% compared with the first quarter of 2015 ... profit totaled SEK 589.1 M (loss: 18.8) and the operating margin ... 7.12 (loss: 0.32) Cash flow from operations was SEK ... The 2016 revenue guidance is unchanged, SEK 7,000-8,500 M. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016   Boston Biomedical , ... compounds designed to target cancer stemness pathways, announced ... granted Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. Food ... gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Napabucasin ... to inhibit cancer stemness pathways by targeting STAT3, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased to announce 24 new ... prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were selected from a pool ... Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young Investigators ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 2016 , ... In a new case report published today in STEM CELLS ... developed lymphedema after being treated for breast cancer benefitted from an injection of stem ... with this debilitating, frequent side effect of cancer treatment. , Lymphedema refers ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ClinCapture, the only free validated ... will showcase its product’s latest features from June 26 to June 30, 2016 ... on Disrupting Clinical Trials in The Cloud during the conference. DIA (Drug ...
Breaking Biology Technology: