Characterization of the lytic archaeal virus Drs3 infecting Methanobacterium formicicum
Viruses are ubiquitous in the biosphere and greatly affect the hosts they infect. It is generally accepted that members of every microbial taxon are susceptible to at least one virus, and a plethora of bacterial viruses are known. In contrast, knowledge of the archaeal virosphere is still limited. Here, a novel lytic archaeal virus is described, designated “Drs3”, as well as its host, Methanobacterium formicicum strain Khl10. This hydrogenotrophic methanogenic archaeon and its virus were isolated from the anaerobic digester of an experimental biogas plant in Germany. The tailed virus has an icosahedral head with a diameter of approximately 60 nm and a long non-contractile tail of approximately 230 nm. These structural observations suggest that the new isolate belongs to the family Siphoviridae, but it could not be assigned to an existing genus. Lysis of the host Khl10 was observed 40-44 h after infection. Lysis of the type strain Methanobacterium formicicum DSMZ 1535 was not observed in the presence of Drs3, pointing towards resistance in the type strain or a rather narrow host range of this newly isolated archaeal virus. The complete 37-kb linear dsDNA genome of Drs3 contains 39 open reading frames, only 12 of which show similarity to genes with predicted functions.