Aspergillus fumigatus mycovirus causes mild hypervirulent effect on pathogenicity when tested on Galleria mellonella
Coutts, Robert H.A.
Mycoviruses are a specific group of viruses that naturally infect and replicate in fungi. The importance of mycoviruses was revealed after their effects were identified not only in economically important fungi but also in the human pathogenic fungus Aspergillus fumigatus. The latter was shown recently to harbor at least three different types of mycoviruses including a chrysovirus, a partitivirus and an as yet uncharacterized virus. Assessment of virulence in the presence and absence of mycoviruses in A. fumigatus is pivotal to understanding its pathogenicity. Here, we have investigated, for the first time, the effects of mycoviruses on the pathogenicity of A. fumigatus as assessed using larvae of the greater wax moth Galleria mellonella. In order to observe the effects of mycoviruses on pathogenicity, G. mellonella were injected with virus-free and virus-infected isolates of A. fumigatus and post-infection survival times were analyzed along with the fungal burden. Neither chrysovirus nor partitivirus infection affected fungal pathogenicity when survival rates were assessed which, for the chrysovirus, agreed with a previous study on murine pathogenicity. However statistically significant differences were observed in survival rates and fungal burden in the presence of the uncharacterized A78 virus. Here we show, for the first time, the effects of a partitivirus and an uncharacterized A78 virus on the pathogenicity of A. fumigatus