Nature Communications 13(1) , 2389 ( 2022)
Recent advances in environmental genomics have provided unprecedented opportunities for the investigation of viruses in natural settings. Yet, our knowledge of viral biogeographic patterns and the corresponding drivers is still limited. Here, we perform metagenomic deep sequencing on 90 acid mine drainage (AMD) sediments sampled across Southern China and examine the biogeography of viruses in this extreme environment. The results demonstrate that prokaryotic communities dictate viral taxonomic and functional diversity, abundance and structure, whereas other factors especially latitude and mean annual temperature also impact viral populations and functions. In silico predictions highlight lineage-specific virus-host abundance ratios and richness-dependent virus-host interaction structure. Further functional analyses reveal important roles of environmental conditions and horizontal gene transfers in shaping viral auxiliary metabolic genes potentially involved in phosphorus assimilation. Our findings underscore the importance of both abiotic and biotic factors in predicting the taxonomic and functional biogeographic dynamics of viruses in the AMD sediments.