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Virology. 2018 May;518:14-24. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2018.02.005. Epub 2018 Feb 12.

Evidence for contemporary plant mitoviruses.

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Department of Microbiology & Immunobiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Microbiology & Immunobiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
Sugarbeet and Potato Research, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Red River Valley Agricultural Research Center, Fargo, ND 58102, USA.
Instituto de Patología Vegetal, Centro de Investigaciones Agropecuarias, Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (IPAVE-CIAP-INTA), X5020ICA, Córdoba, Argentina.


Mitoviruses have small RNA(+) genomes, replicate in mitochondria, and have been shown to infect only fungi to date. For this report, sequences that appear to represent nearly complete plant mitovirus genomes were recovered from publicly available transcriptome data. Twenty of the refined sequences, 2684-2898 nt long and derived from 10 different species of land plants, appear to encompass the complete coding regions of contemporary plant mitoviruses, which furthermore constitute a monophyletic cluster within genus Mitovirus. Complete coding sequences of several of these viruses were recovered from multiple transcriptome (but not genome) studies of the same plant species and also from multiple plant tissues. Crop plants among implicated hosts include beet and hemp. Other new results suggest that such genuine plant mitoviruses were immediate ancestors to endogenized mitovirus elements now widespread in land plant genomes. Whether these mitoviruses are wholly cryptic with regard to plant health remains to be investigated.


Database mining; Fungal virus; Mitovirus; Narnaviridae; Plant virus; RNA virus

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