Coevolution of a persistent plant virus and its pepper hosts

Maliheh Safari, Marilyn J. Roossinck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


There are many nonpathogenic viruses that are maintained in a persistent lifestyle in plants. Plant persistent viruses are widespread, replicating in their hosts for many generations. So far, Endornaviridae is the only family of plant persistent viruses with a single-stranded RNA genome, containing one large open reading frame. Bell pepper endornavirus (BPEV), Hot pepper endornavirus, Capsicum frutescens endornavirus 1 (CFEV 1) have been identified from peppers. Peppers are native to Central and South America and, as domesticated plants, human selection accelerated their evolution. We investigated the evolution of these endornaviruses in different peppers including Capsicum annuum, C. chacoense, C. chinense, C. frutescens, C. baccutum, and C. pubescens using two fragments from the viral helicase (Hel) and RNA dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) domains. In addition, using single nucleotide polymorphisms, we analyzed the pepper host populations and phylogenies. The endornaviruses phylogeny was correlated with its Capsicum species host. In this study, BPEV was limited to C. annuum species, and the RdRp and Hel phylogenies identified two clades that correlated with the host pungency. No C. annuum infected with CFEV 1 was found in this study, but the CFEV 1 RdRp fragment was recovered from C. chinense, C. frutescens, C. baccutum, and C. pubescens. Hence, during pepper speciation, the ancestor of CFEV 1 may have evolved as a new endornavirus, BPEV, in C. annuum peppers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)766-776
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Plant-Microbe Interactions
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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