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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Urbana, Illinois » Soybean/maize Germplasm, Pathology, and Genetics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #339861

Title: Transcriptional and small RNA responses of the white mold fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum to infection by a virulence-attenuating hypovirus

item MARZONO, SHIN-YI - South Dakota State University
item NEUPANE, ACHAL - South Dakota State University
item Domier, Leslie

Submitted to: Viruses
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/9/2018
Publication Date: 12/14/2018
Citation: Marzono, S.L., Neupane, A., Domier, L.L. 2018. Transcriptional and small RNA responses of the white mold fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum to infection by a virulence-attenuating hypovirus. Viruses. 10:713.

Interpretive Summary: Sclerotinia sclerotiorum is a widely distributed fungal plant pathogen that causes white mold disease, which significantly reduces yields of soybean and other crops each year. Some mycoviruses (viruses that infect fungi) can be beneficial to agriculture in that they reduce the ability of pathogenic fungi to cause disease. The goal of this study was to investigate the changes in fungal gene expression induced by a beneficial mycovirus. The experiments showed that mycovirus infection altered the expression of S. sclerotiorum genes involved in responding to environmental stresses and pathogen infection. These experiments will be useful to scientists studying the mechanisms by which mycoviruses reduce the severity of diseases caused by fungal plant pathogens.

Technical Abstract: Sclerotinia sclerotiorum is a damaging and widely distributed fungal plant pathogen that significantly reduces yields of multiple crop species each year. Because mycoviruses have the potential to reduce the impacts of fungal plant pathogens on crop productivity, this study characterized changes in mRNA and small RNA (sRNA) accumulation in S. sclerotiorum in response to infection by Sclerotinia sclerotiorum hypovirus 2-L (SsHV2L). Infection by SsHV2L significantly altered the accumulation of 958 mRNAs and 835 sRNA-producing loci. The differentially expressed mRNAs included more than 100 mRNAs encoding proteins involved in the metabolism and trafficking of carbohydrates and lipids. Both S. sclerotiorum endogenous and virus-derived sRNAs were of predominantly 22 nt in length. Global analyses of mRNA, sRNA, and degradome data confirmed that sRNAs produced by S. sclerotiorum were capable of directing cleavage of S. sclerotiorum mRNAs. In addition, S. sclerotiorum was found to produce large numbers of phased small interfering RNAs from noncoding RNAs and tRNA fragments that have the potential to regulate mRNA abundance in trans. Hence, the analysis showed that infection of S. sclerotiorum by a hypovirulence-inducing virus produced selective, large-scale reprogramming of mRNA and sRNA production and demonstrated that S. sclerotiorum possesses robust RNA silencing pathways for both antiviral defense and endogenous gene regulation.