Zombie Cells (Missing Ribosomes) in the Sea: Viruses Keep the Most Common Marine Bacteria in Check

Algae bloom
The ocean waters surrounding the German island of Helgoland provide an ideal setting to study spring algae blooms, a focus of research at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology since 2009. In a previous study, the Max Planck scientists observed a group of bacteria called SAR11 to grow particularly fast during these blooms. However, despite their high growth rates, the abundance of SAR11 decreased by roughly 90% over five days. This suggested that the cells were quickly decimated by predators and/or viral infections. Now, the Max Planck researchers investigated what exactly lies behind this phenomenon. The results of their new study were published on May 2, 2024 in Nature Communications. The open-access article is titledGlobally Occurring Pelagiphage Infections Create Ribosome-Deprived Cells.”
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