Journal of General Plant Pathology

, Volume 84, Issue 6, pp 427–428 | Cite as

Studies on replication and evolution mechanisms of plant RNA viruses

  • Shuhei MiyashitaEmail author


Error-prone replication of RNA viruses adds variation to their genomes. By chance, this process may result in variants that are adapted to new environments, although most such random variation is lethal or deleterious to the viruses (Sanjuán et al. 2004). Consequently, RNA virus populations need to continue to select for adaptive variants and to exclude deleterious ones. To achieve this, viruses need to solve an important problem: sharing the use of their gene products. Because viruses replicate and accumulate in host cells, most of their gene products are shared within each intracellular virus population, which can be as many as a million copies. Note that there are/can be exceptions in positive-strand and double-stranded RNA viruses, in which the co-translational binding of the gene products to template genomic RNA can avoid shared use (e.g., Kawamura-Nagaya et al. 2014). With the shared use of gene products, viral genomes with adaptive variation will share the benefits...



I express my deepest gratitude to Drs. Yukio Shirako, Hirohisa Kishino, Masayuki Ishikawa, Kazuhiro Ishibashi, Hideki Takahashi, and Sugihiro Ando for their continuous support. I thank Ms. Rieko Iwanami for technical assistance and Ms. Machi Suzuki and Ms. Sietske van Bentum for their contributions as students. I also thank the many people who provided material and other support for this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author has no conflicts of interest to declare.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by the author.


  1. del Portillo A, Tripodi J, Najfeld V, Wodarz D, Levy DN, Chen BK (2011) Multiploid inheritance of HIV-1 during cell-to-cell infection. J Virol 85:7169–7176. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Kawamura-Nagaya K, Ishibashi K, Huang YP, Miyashita S, Ishikawa M (2014) Replication protein of tobacco mosaic virus cotranslationally binds the 5′ untranslated region of genomic RNA to enable viral replication. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 111:E1620–E1628. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Miyashita S, Kishino H (2010) Estimation of the size of genetic bottlenecks in cell-to-cell movement of soil-borne wheat mosaic virus and the possible role of the bottlenecks in speeding up selection of variations in trans-acting genes or elements. J Virol 84:1828–1837. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Miyashita S, Ishibashi K, Kishino H, Ishikawa M (2015) Viruses roll the dice: the stochastic behavior of viral genome molecules accelerates viral adaptation at the cell and tissue levels. PLoS Biol 13:e1002094. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. Sanjuán R, Moya A, Elena SF (2004) The distribution of fitness effects caused by single-nucleotide substitutions in an RNA virus. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 101:8396–8401. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Taylor MP, Kobiler O, Enquist LW (2012) Alphaherpesvirus axon-to-cell spread involves limited virion transmission. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109:17046–17051. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Phytopathological Society of Japan and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Agricultural ScienceTohoku UniversitySendaiJapan

Personalised recommendations