Unique symbiotic viruses in plants: Endornaviruses.
Authors: Fukuhara T
Linear double-stranded RNAs (dsRNAs) of about 15 kbp in length are often found from healthy plants, such as bell pepper and rice plants. Nucleotide sequencing and phylogenetic analyses reveal that these dsRNAs are not transcribed from host genomic DNAs, encode a single long open reading frame (ORF) with a viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase domain, and contain a site-specific nick in the 5′ region of their coding strands. Consequently the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses has approved that these dsRNAs are viruses forming a distinct taxon, the family Endornaviridae the genus Endornavirus. Endornaviruses have common properties that differ from those of conventional viruses: they have no obvious effect on the phenotype of their host plants, and they are efficiently transmitted to the next generation via both pollen and ova, but their horizontal transfer to other plants has never been proven. Conventional single-stranded RNA viruses, such as cucumber mosaic virus, propagate hugely and systemically in host plants to sometime kill their hosts eventually and transmit horizontally (infect to other plants). In contrast, copy numbers of endornaviruses are low and constant (about 100 copies/cell), and they symbiotically propagate with host plants and transmit vertically. Therefore, endornaviruses are unique plant viruses with symbiotic properties.
PMID: 27760919 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]