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Adv Virus Res. 2013;86:249-72. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-394315-6.00009-X.

Viruses of botrytis.

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School of Biological Sciences, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.


Botrytis cinerea (gray mold) is one of the most widespread and destructive fungal diseases of horticultural crops. Propagation and dispersal is usually by asexual conidia but the sexual stage (Botryotinia fuckeliana (de Bary) Whetzel) also occurs in nature. DsRNAs, indicative of virus infection, are common in B. cinerea, but only four viruses (Botrytis virus F (BVF), Botrytis virus X (BVX), Botrytis cinerea mitovirus 1 (BcMV1), and Botrytis porri RNA virus) have been sequenced. BVF and BVX are unusual mycoviruses being ssRNA flexous rods and have been designated the type species of the genera Mycoflexivirus and Botrexvirus (family Betaflexivirdae), respectively. The reported effects of viruses on Botrytis range from negligible to severe, with Botrytis cinerea mitovirus 1 causing hypovirulence. Little is currently known about the effects of viruses on Botrytis metabolism but recent complete sequencing of the B. cinerea genome now provides an opportunity to investigate the host-pathogen interactions at the molecular level. There is interest in the possible use of mycoviruses as biological controls for Botrytis because of the common problem of fungicide resistance. Unfortunately, hyphal anastomosis is the only known mechanism of horizontal virus transmission and the large number of vegetative incompatibility groups in Botrytis is a potential constraint on the spread of an introduced virus. Although some Botrytis viruses, such as BVF and BVX, are known to have international distribution, there is a distinct lack of epidemiological data and the means of spread are unknown.

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