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J Virol. 2009 Dec;83(24):12801-12. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01830-09. Epub 2009 Oct 14.

A novel bipartite double-stranded RNA Mycovirus from the white root rot Fungus Rosellinia necatrix: molecular and biological characterization, taxonomic considerations, and potential for biological control.

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Agrivirology Laboratory, Research Institute for Bioresources, Okayama University, Kurashiki, Okayama 710-0046, Japan.


White root rot, caused by the ascomycete Rosellinia necatrix, is a devastating disease worldwide, particularly in fruit trees in Japan. Here we report on the biological and molecular properties of a novel bipartite double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) virus encompassing dsRNA-1 (8,931 bp) and dsRNA-2 (7,180 bp), which was isolated from a field strain of R. necatrix, W779. Besides the strictly conserved 5' (24 nt) and 3' (8 nt) terminal sequences, both segments show high levels of sequence similarity in the long 5' untranslated region of approximately 1.6 kbp. dsRNA-1 and -2 each possess two open reading frames (ORFs) named ORF1 to -4. Although the protein encoded by 3'-proximal ORF2 on dsRNA-1 shows sequence identities of 22 to 32% with RNA-dependent RNA polymerases from members of the families Totiviridae and Chrysoviridae, the remaining three virus-encoded proteins lack sequence similarities with any reported mycovirus proteins. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the W779 virus belongs to a separate clade distinct from those of other known mycoviruses. Purified virions approximately 50 nm in diameter consisted of dsRNA-1 and -2 and a single major capsid protein of 135 kDa, which was shown by peptide mass fingerprinting to be encoded by dsRNA-1 ORF1. We developed a transfection protocol using purified virions to show that the virus was responsible for reduction of virulence and mycelial growth in several host strains. These combined results indicate that the W779 virus is a novel bipartite dsRNA virus with potential for biological control (virocontrol), named Rosellinia necatrix megabirnavirus 1 (RnMBV1), that possibly belongs to a new virus family.

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