Characterization of the first two viruses described from wild populations of hammer orchids (Drakaea spp.) in Australia

J.W.L. Ong, R.D. Phillips, Kingsley Dixon, M.G.K. Jones, S.J. Wylie

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    Sequences representing the genomes of two distinct virus isolates infecting wild plants of two members of the genus Drakaea (hammer orchids) in Western Australia are described. The virus isolated from Drakaea livida has a bipartite genome of 4490 nt (RNA1) and 2905 nt (RNA2) that shares closest sequence and structural similarity to members of the genus Pecluvirus, family Virgaviridae, described from legumes in the Indian subcontinent and West Africa. However, it differs from pecluviruses by lacking a P39 protein on RNA2 and having a cysteine-rich protein gene located 3′ of the triple gene block protein genes. It is the first peclu-like virus to be described from Australia. The name Drakaea virus A is proposed (DVA; proposed member of the family Virgaviridae, genus unassigned). The second virus isolate was identified from Drakaea elastica, a species classed as endangered under conservation legislation. The genome sequence of this virus shares closest identity with isolates of Donkey orchid symptomless virus (DOSV; proposed member of the order Tymovirales, family and genus unassigned), a species described previously from wild Caladenia and Diuris orchids in the same region. These viruses are the first to be isolated from wild Drakaea populations and are proposed to have an ancient association with their orchid hosts.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)163 - 172
    Number of pages10
    JournalPlant Pathology
    Issue number1
    Early online date21 May 2015
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


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