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Virus population structure in the ectomycorrhizal fungi Lactarius rufus and L. tabidus at two forest sites in Southern Finland

Sutela, Suvi, Vainio, Eeva J.
Virus research 2020 v.285 pp. 197993
Curvularia, Lactarius rufus, chronic diseases, double-stranded RNA, dsRNA viruses, ectomycorrhizae, forests, genome, heat tolerance, host strains, hosts, mycorrhizal fungi, nucleotide sequences, population structure, sequence diversity, symbionts, trees, viruses, Finland
Lactarius fungi belong to the Russulaceae family and have an important ecological role as ectomycorrhizal symbionts of coniferous and deciduous trees. Two Lactarius species, L. tabidus and L. rufus have been shown to harbor bisegmented dsRNA viruses belonging to an unclassified virus group including the mutualistic Curvularia thermal tolerance virus (CThTV). In this study, we characterized the first complete genome sequences of these viruses designated as Lactarius tabidus RNA virus 1 (LtRV1) and Lactarius rufus RNA virus 1 (LrRV1), both of which included two genome segments of 2241 and 2049 bp. We also analyzed spatial distribution and sequence diversity of the viruses in sixty host strains at two forest sites, and showed that the viruses are species-specific at sites where both host species co-occur. We also found that single virus isolates inhabited several different conspecific host strains, and were involved in persistent infections during up to eight years.