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RNA-seq reveals plant virus composition and diversity in alfalfa, thrips, and aphids in Beijing, China

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-04, 10:53 authored by Jin Li, Hongchang Gu, Yanqi Liu, Shuhua Wei, Guixin Hu, Xuemin Wang, Mark McNeillMark McNeill, Liping Ban
Viruses are widespread in alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), representing a key limitation to the production of this important forage plant. Understanding the diversity of plant viruses in alfalfa and their potential vectors will play an important role in management to minimize the emergence, transmission, and impact of viruses. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) targeting the transcriptome was applied to monitor the virus communities in alfalfa and its two main pests, thrips (Odontothrips loti Haliday and Frankliniella intonsa Trybom) and aphids (Acyrthosiphon pisum Mordvilko and Therioaphis trifolii Monell). A comparison of transcriptome datasets with reference databases revealed the presence of eight candidate viruses. Five out of the eight viruses, alfalfa mosaic virus (AMV), Medicago sativa alphapartitivirus 1 (MsAPV1), Medicago sativa deltapartitivirus 1 (MsDPV1), Medicago sativa amalgavirus 1 (MsAV1), and bean yellow mosaic virus (BYMV), were confirmed by RT-PCR. We identified and determined the presence of four RNA viruses from alfalfa samples, two viruses (AMV and MsAPV1) from thrips samples, and one virus (BYMV) from T. trifolii. All sequences isolated from the insect samples were more than 95% identical to the sequences from the alfalfa samples or to sequences from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) reference database. The RNA-seq results of this study suggest that AMV and MsAPV1 are the predominant RNA plant viruses infecting alfalfa and that they are carried by the major pests. This lays the foundation for future research on the vectors and transmission of these viruses. In addition, the sequence data have enabled the assembly of the first complete genome sequence of MsDPV1 from alfalfa.


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© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2021


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Springer Nature

Journal title

Archives of Virology




Li, J., Gu, H., Liu, Y., Wei, S., Hu, G., Wang, X., … Ban, L. (2021). RNA-seq reveals plant virus composition and diversity in alfalfa, thrips, and aphids in Beijing, China. Archives of Virology, 166, 1711–1722. doi:10.1007/s00705-021-05067-1

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