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Adv Virus Res. 2011;80:25-48. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-385987-7.00002-6.

Mycoviruses, RNA silencing, and viral RNA recombination.

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Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research, University of Maryland, Rockville, Maryland, USA.


In contrast to viruses of plants and animals, viruses of fungi, mycoviruses, uniformly lack an extracellular phase to their replication cycle. The persistent, intracellular nature of the mycovirus life cycle presents technical challenges to experimental design. However, these properties, coupled with the relative simplicity and evolutionary position of the fungal host, also provide opportunities for examining fundamental aspects of virus-host interactions from a perspective that is quite different from that pertaining for most plant and animal virus infections. This chapter presents support for this view by describing recent advances in the understanding of antiviral defense responses against one group of mycoviruses for which many of the technical experimental challenges have been overcome, the hypoviruses responsible for hypovirulence of the chestnut blight fungus Cryphonectria parasitica. The findings reveal new insights into the induction and suppression of RNA silencing as an antiviral defense response and an unexpected role for RNA silencing in viral RNA recombination.

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