Genetic Diversity of Cryphonectria hypovirus 1, a Biocontrol Agent of Chestnut Blight, in Croatia and Slovenia


Transmissible hypovirulence associated with Cryphonectria hypovirus 1 (CHV1) has been used for biological control of chestnut blight, devastating disease of chestnut caused by the fungus Cryphonectria parasitica. The main aims of this study were to provide molecular characterization of CHV1 from Croatia and Slovenia and to reveal its genetic variability, phylogeny, and diversification of populations. Fifty-one CHV1 haplotypes were detected among 54 partially sequenced CHV1 isolates, all belonging to Italian subtype (I). Diversity was mainly generated by point mutations while evidence of recombination was not found. The level of conservation over analyzed parts of ORF-A proteins p29 and p40 varied, but functional sites were highly conserved. Phylogenetic analysis revealed close relatedness and intermixing of Croatian and Slovenian CHV1 populations. Our CHV1 isolates were also related to Swiss and Bosnian hypoviruses supporting previously suggested course of CHV1 invasion in Europe. Overall, this study indicates that phylogeny of CHV1 subtype I in Europe is complex and characterized with frequent point mutations resulting in many closely related variants of the virus. Possible association between variations within CHV1 ORF-A and growth of the hypovirulent fungal isolates is tested and presented.

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This research was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation and by Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek (project IZIP-2016-54). We thank Dr. Daniel Rigling in whose laboratory at the WSL (Switzerland) part of the experimental work was conducted.

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Correspondence to Mirna Ćurković-Perica.

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Ljiljana Krstin and Zorana Katanić should be considered joint first author.

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Krstin, L., Katanić, Z., Repar, J. et al. Genetic Diversity of Cryphonectria hypovirus 1, a Biocontrol Agent of Chestnut Blight, in Croatia and Slovenia. Microb Ecol 79, 148–163 (2020).

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  • Cryphonectria hypovirus 1
  • Genetic variability
  • Phylogenetic analysis
  • Protein conservation
  • Biological control