Development of a genetic system for Haloferax gibbonsii LR2-5, model host for haloarchaeal viruses.

Colin Tittes, Jeroen Nijland, Anna M C Schoentag, Thomas Hackl, Nadia Di Cianni, Anita Marchfelder, Tessa E F Quax*

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review


UNLABELLED: Archaeal viruses are among the most enigmatic members of the virosphere, and their diverse morphologies raise many questions about their infection mechanisms. The study of molecular mechanisms underlying virus-host interactions hinges upon robust model organisms with a system for gene expression and deletion. Currently, there are only a limited number of archaea that have associated viruses and have a well-developed genetic system. Here, we report the development of a genetic system for the euryarchaeon Haloferax gibbonsii LR2-5. This strain can be infected by multiple viruses and is a model for the study of virus-host interactions. We created a Hfx. gibbonsii LR2-5 ∆ pyrE strain, resulting in uracil auxotrophy, which could be used as a selection marker. An expression plasmid carrying a pyrE gene from the well-established Haloferax volcanii system was tested for functionality. Expression of a GFP-MinD fusion under a tryptophan inducible promoter was fully functional and showed similar cellular localization as in Hfx. volcanii. Thus, the plasmids of the Hfx. volcanii system can be used directly for the Hfx. gibbonsii LR2-5 genetic system, facilitating the transfer of tools between the two. Finally, we tested for the functionality of gene deletions by knocking out two genes of the archaeal motility structure, the archaellum. These deletion mutants were as expected non-motile and the phenotype of one deletion could be rescued by the expression of the deleted archaellum gene from a plasmid. Thus, we developed a functional genetic toolbox for the euryarchaeal virus host Hfx. gibbonsii LR2-5, which will propel future studies on archaeal viruses.

IMPORTANCE: Species from all domains of life are infected by viruses. In some environments, viruses outnumber their microbial hosts by a factor of 10, and viruses are the most important predators of microorganisms. While much has been discovered about the infection mechanisms of bacterial and eukaryotic viruses, archaeal viruses remain understudied. Good model systems are needed to study their virus-host interactions in detail. The salt-loving archaeon Haloferax gibbonsii LR2-5 has been shown to be infected by a variety of different viruses and, thus, is an excellent model to study archaeal viruses. By establishing a genetic system, we have significantly expanded the toolbox for this model organism, which will fuel our understanding of infection strategies of the underexplored archaeal viruses.

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's16
TijdschriftApplied and environmental microbiology
Nummer van het tijdschrift4
Vroegere onlinedatum12-mrt.-2024
StatusPublished - apr.-2024


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