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Identification of a Diagnostic Marker To Detect Freshwater Cyanophages of Filamentous Cyanobacteria†

  • Andrea C. Baker
  • Victoria J. Goddard
  • Joanne Davy
  • Declan C. Schroeder
  • David G. Adams
  • William H. Wilson
American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2006
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Design
  • Earth Science
  • Medicine


Cyanophages are viruses that infect the cyanobacteria, globally important photosynthetic microorganisms. Cyanophages are considered significant components of microbial communities, playing major roles in influencing host community diversity and primary productivity, terminating cyanobacterial water blooms, and influencing biogeochemical cycles. Cyanophages are ubiquitous in both marine and freshwater systems; however, the majority of molecular research has been biased toward the study of marine cyanophages. In this study, a diagnostic probe was developed to detect freshwater cyanophages in natural waters. Oligonucleotide PCR-based primers were designed to specifically amplify the major capsid protein gene from previously characterized freshwater cyanomyoviruses that are infectious to the filamentous, nitrogen-fixing cyanobacterial genera Anabaena and Nostoc. The primers were also successful in yielding PCR products from mixed virus communities concentrated from water samples collected from freshwater lakes in the United Kingdom. The probes are thought to provide a useful tool for the investigation of cyanophage diversity in freshwater environments.

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