Viruses are widespread in all major groups of fungi. The transmission of fungal viruses occurs intracellularly during cell division, sporogenesis, and cell fusion. They apparently lack an extracellular route for infection. Recent searches of the collections of field fungal isolates have detected an increasing number of novel viruses and lead to discoveries of novel genome organizations, expression strategies and virion structures. Those findings enhanced our understanding of virus diversity and evolution. The majority of fungal viruses have dsRNA genomes packaged in spherical particles, while ssRNA mycoviruses, possessing or lacking the ability to form particles, have increasingly been reported. This review article discusses the current status of mycovirus studies and virocontrol (biocontrol) of phytopathogenic fungi using viruses that infect them and reduce their virulence. Selected examples of virocontrol-associated systems include the chestnut/chestnut blight/hypovirus and fruit trees/white root rot fungus/mycoviruses. Natural dissemination and artificial introduction of hypovirulent fungal strains efficiently contributed to virocontrol of chestnut blight in European forests. Attempts to control white root rot with hypovirulence-conferring mycoviruses are now being made in Japan.
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