Two novel mitoviruses from a Canadian isolate of the Dutch elm pathogen Ophiostoma novo-ulmi (93–1224)




Hintz, William E.
Carneiro, Joyce S
Kassatenko, Irina
Varga, Aniko
James, Delano

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Virology Journal


Background: Ophiostoma novo-ulmi is the causative agent of Dutch elm disease (DED). It is an ascomycetous filamentous fungus that ranks as the third most devastating fungal pathogen in Canada. The disease front has spread eastward and westward from the epicentre in Ontario and Quebec and is threatening elm populations across the country. Numerous mitigation strategies have been tried to eradicate this pathogen, but success has thus far been limited. An alternative approach might utilize double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) mycoviruses which have been reported to induce hypovirulence in other fungi. Methods: Using a modified single primer amplification technique (SPAT) in combination with chromosomal walking, we have determined the genome sequence of two RdRp encoding dsRNA viruses from an O. novo-ulmi isolate (93–1224) collected from the disease front in Winnipeg. Results: We propose that these viruses, which we have named OnuMV1c and OnuMV7 based on sequence similarity to other Ophiostoma mitoviruses, are two new members of the genus Mitovirus in the family Narnaviridae. Conclusions: The discovery of such dsRNA elements raises the potential for engineering these viruses to include other genetic elements, such as anti-sense or interfering RNAs, to create novel and highly specific biological controls. Naïve fungal hosts could be infected with both the engineered molecule and a helper mitovirus encoding an RdRp which would provide replication capacity for both molecules.


BioMed Central


Ophiostoma novo-ulmi, dsRNA virus, Hypovirulence, Mitovirus, Dutch elm disease, Biological control


Hintz et al.: Two novel mitoviruses from a Canadian isolate of the Dutch elm pathogen Ophiostoma novo-ulmi (93–1224). Virology Journal 2013 10:252.