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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2011 Mar;77(5):1822-32. doi: 10.1128/AEM.02501-10. Epub 2011 Jan 14.

A new wine Saccharomyces cerevisiae killer toxin (Klus), encoded by a double-stranded rna virus, with broad antifungal activity is evolutionarily related to a chromosomal host gene.

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Departamento de Microbiología (Antiguo Rectorado), Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Extremadura, 06071 Badajoz, Spain.


Wine Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains producing a new killer toxin (Klus) were isolated. They killed all the previously known S. cerevisiae killer strains, in addition to other yeast species, including Kluyveromyces lactis and Candida albicans. The Klus phenotype is conferred by a medium-size double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) virus, Saccharomyces cerevisiae virus Mlus (ScV-Mlus), whose genome size ranged from 2.1 to 2.3 kb. ScV-Mlus depends on ScV-L-A for stable maintenance and replication. We cloned and sequenced Mlus. Its genome structure is similar to that of M1, M2, or M28 dsRNA, with a 5'-terminal coding region followed by two internal A-rich sequences and a 3'-terminal region without coding capacity. Mlus positive strands carry cis-acting signals at their 5' and 3' termini for transcription and replication similar to those of killer viruses. The open reading frame (ORF) at the 5' portion codes for a putative preprotoxin with an N-terminal secretion signal, potential Kex2p/Kexlp processing sites, and N-glycosylation sites. No sequence homology was found either between the Mlus dsRNA and M1, M2, or M28 dsRNA or between Klus and the K1, K2, or K28 toxin. The Klus amino acid sequence, however, showed a significant degree of conservation with that of the product of the host chromosomally encoded ORF YFR020W of unknown function, thus suggesting an evolutionary relationship.

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