Aspergillus mycoviruses are targets and suppressors of RNA silencing

T. M. Hammond, M. D. Andrewski, M. J. Roossinck, N. P. Keller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


RNA silencing can function as a virus defense mechanism in a diverse range of eukaryotes, and many viruses are capable of suppressing the silencing machinery targeting them. However, the extent to which this occurs between fungal RNA silencing and mycoviruses is unclear. Here, three Aspergillus dsRNA mycoviruses were partially characterized, and their relationship to RNA silencing was investigated. Aspergillus virus 1816 is related to Agaricus bisporus white button mushroom virus 1 and suppresses RNA silencing through a mechanism that alters the level of small interfering RNA. Aspergillus virus 178 is related to RNA virus L1 of Gremmeniella abietina and does not appear to affect RNA silencing. The third virus investigated, Aspergillus virus 341, is distantly related to Sphaeropsis sapinea RNA virus 2. Detection of mycovirus-derived siRNA from this mycovirus demonstrates that it is targeted for degradation by the Aspergillus RNA silencing machinery. Thus, our results indicate that Aspergillus mycoviruses are both targets and suppressors of RNA silencing. In addition, they suggest that the morphological and physiological changes associated with some mycoviruses could be a result of their antagonistic relationship with RNA silencing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)350-357
Number of pages8
JournalEukaryotic Cell
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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