A novel victorivirus, termed Rosellinia necatrix victorivirus 1 (RnVV1), was isolated from a plant pathogenic ascomycete, white root rot fungus Rosellinia necatrix, coinfected with a partitivirus. The virus was molecularly and biologically characterized using the natural and experimental hosts (chestnut blight fungus, Cryphonectria parasitica). RnVV1 was shown to have typical molecular victorivirus attributes, including a monopartite double-stranded RNA genome with two open reading frames (ORFs) encoding capsid protein (CP) and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), a UAAUG pentamer presumed to facilitate the coupled termination/reinitiation for translation of the two ORFs, a spherical particle structure ̃40 nm in diameter, and moderate levels of CP and RdRp sequence identity (34 to 58%) to those of members of the genus Victorivirus within the family Totiviridae. A reproducible transfection system with purified RnVV1 virions was developed for the two distinct fungal hosts. Transfection assay with purified RnVV1 virions combined with virus elimination by hyphal tipping showed that the effects of RnVV1 on the phenotype of the natural host were negligible. Interestingly, comparison of the RNA silencing-competent (standard strain EP155) and -defective (Δdcl-2) strains of C. parasitica infected with RnVV1 showed that RNA silencing acted against the virus to repress its replication, which was restored by coinfection with hypovirus or transgenic expression of an RNA silencing suppressor, hypovirus p29. Phenotypic changes were observed in the Δdcl-2 strain but not in EP155. This is the first reported study on the host range expansion of a Totiviridae member that is targeted by RNA silencing.
ASJC Scopus subject areas