Double-Stranded RNA Elements and Virus-Like Particles in Aspergilli
Mycoviruses with double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) genomes are frequently encountered in Aspergillus isolates. A detailed study of such dsRNA elements in black Aspergillus isolates collected worldwide was carried out, and the data were analysed. The results indicate that about 10% of black Aspergilli are infected. However, the geographic distribution of infected isolates exhibits large variations; 3–13% of the isolates collected from different continents were found to carry dsRNA elements. Hybridization experiments indicated that electrophoretic banding patterns are not reliable tools for estimating the diversity of these mycovirus genomes. Among strains representing other Aspergillus sections, dsRNA segments indicative of mycovirus infection were observed for the first time in 4 species (A. leporis, A. petrakii, A. fumigatus and A. primulinus). The latter species is able to reproduce sexually. This is the second report on the detection of naturally-occurring dsRNAs in sexually reproducing Aspergillus species. The presence of viruslike particles in these and other Aspergilli was also examined by electron microscopy. Most infected Aspergillus isolates examined were found to carry virus-like particles in the size range 36–40 nm.
Keywordsdouble-stranded RNA mycovirus Aspergillus virus-like particle
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