A novel mycovirus from Aspergillus fumigatus contains four unique double-stranded RNAs as its genome and is infectious as dsRNA
Gunning, A. Patrick
Coutts, Robert H.A.
We report the discovery and characterization of a double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) mycovirus isolated from the human pathogenic fungus Aspergillus fumigatus, Aspergillus fumigatus tetramycovirus-1 (AfuTmV-1), which reveals several unique features not found previously in positive-strand RNA viruses, including the fact that it represents the first dsRNA (to our knowledge) that is not only infectious as a purified entity but also as a naked dsRNA. The AfuTmV-1 genome consists of four capped dsRNAs, the largest of which encodes an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP) containing a unique GDNQ motif normally characteristic of negative-strand RNA viruses. The third largest dsRNA encodes an S-adenosyl methionine–dependent methyltransferase capping enzyme and the smallest dsRNA a P-A-S–rich protein that apparently coats but does not encapsidate the viral genome as visualized by atomic force microscopy. A combination of a capping enzyme with a picorna-like RdRP in the AfuTmV-1 genome is a striking case of chimerism and the first example (to our knowledge) of such a phenomenon. AfuTmV-1 appears to be intermediate between dsRNA and positive-strand ssRNA viruses, as well as between encapsidated and capsidless RNA viruses