A. Antunes, I. Alam, M.F. Simões, C. Daniels, A.J.S. Ferreira, R. Siam, H. El-Dorry, V.B. Bajic
& Bioinformatics, 13(5), pp. 304-309, (2015)
The deep-sea brines of the Red Sea include some of the most extreme and unique environments on Earth. They combine high salinities with increases in temperature, heavy metals, hydrostatic pressure, and anoxic conditions, creating unique settings for thriving populations of novel extremophiles. Despite a recent increase of studies focusing on these unusual biotopes, their viral communities remain unexplored. The current survey explores four metagenomic datasets obtained from different brine–seawater interface samples, focusing specifically on the diversity of their viral communities. Data analysis confirmed that the particle-attached viral communities present in the brine–seawater interfaces were diverse and generally dominated by Caudovirales, yet appearing distinct from sample to sample. With a level of caution, we report the unexpected finding of Phycodnaviridae, which infects algae and plants, and trace amounts of insect-infecting Iridoviridae. Results from Kebrit Deep revealed stratification in the viral communities present in the interface: the upper-interface was enriched with viruses associated with typical marine bacteria, while the lower-interface was enriched with haloviruses and halophages. These results provide first insights into the unexplored viral communities present in deep-sea brines of the Red Sea, representing one of the first steps for ongoing and future sampling efforts and studies.