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Research Project: Basic and Applied Approaches for Pest Management in Vegetable Crops

Location: Vegetable Research

Title: Discovery and characterization of a novel iflavirus in the gray lawn leafhopper, Exitianus exitiosus, an experimental vector of Spiroplasma kunkelii

item LAHEY, ZACHARY - Orise Fellow
item Andreason, Sharon
item Simmons, Alvin

Submitted to: American Phytopathological Society Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/13/2022
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: N/A

Technical Abstract: Iflaviruses are single-stranded, positive sense RNA (+ssRNA) viruses that infect arthropods. While the effect certain iflaviruses have on their host is well known, many lack information outside of their genome sequence. During a study assessing the response of the gray lawn leafhopper, Exitianus exitiosus, to acquisition of the causal agent of corn stunt disease, Spiroplasma kunkelii, a novel iflavirus whose transcripts were differentially expressed relative to S. kunkelii-free leafhoppers was discovered. The objectives of this study were to provide the genome sequence of this new iflavirus and place it within the context of the family Iflaviridae. Adult E. exitiosus were collected from bermudagrass and reared on cereal grasses. Total RNA was extracted and sequenced on an Illumina HiSeq. The paired-end reads were sanitized, and a de-novo assembly was performed with Trinity. A BLAST search of the assembly identified transcripts of viral origin. Two overlapping transcripts were used to assemble the genome sequence, which was 9,862 nucleotides (nt) long, encoding a 3,083-amino-acid polyprotein (9,249 nt). A phylogenetic analysis of reference and putative polyprotein sequences placed the novel virus, Exitianus exitiosus virus 1 (EeV1), within family Iflaviridae and in a clade comprising iflaviruses discovered in other deltocephaline leafhoppers. The disparate response of EeV1 transcripts to S. kunkelii infection implicates an immune system effect on EeV1 transcription.