Evidence for negative-strand RNA virus infection in fungi

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Fungal viruses comprise two groups: a major group of five families with double-stranded RNA genomes and a minor group with positive-sense single-stranded (ss)RNA genomes. Although many fungal viruses have been identified, no negative-stranded (-)ssRNA mycoviruses have been reported. Here we present two lines of evidence suggesting the presence of (-)ssRNA viruses in filamentous fungi based on an exhaustive search using extant (-)ssRNA viruses as queries. This revealed (-)ssRNA virus L protein-like sequences in the genome of a phytopathogenic obligate ascomycete, Erysiphe pisi. A similar search for (-)ssRNA viruses in fungal transcriptome shotgun assembly libraries demonstrated that two independent libraries from Sclerotinia homoeocarpa, another phytopathogenic ascomycete, contained several sequences considered to correspond to the entire mononegavirus L gene and likely originating from an infecting (-)ssRNA virus. These results provide strong evidence for both ancient and extant (-)ssRNA virus infections in fungi.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-209
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 20 2013


  • Endogenous viral element
  • Erysiphe pisi
  • Evolution
  • Fungi
  • Mononegavirales
  • Negative-strand RNA virus
  • Sclerotinia homoeocarpa
  • Transcriptome shotgun assembly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology


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