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Exploring the Symbiotic Mechanism of a Virus-Mediated Endophytic Fungus in Its Host by Dual Unique Molecular Identifier-RNA Sequencing.

  • Qu, Zheng1, 2
  • Zhang, Hongxiang1, 2
  • Wang, Qianqian1, 2
  • Zhao, Huizhang1, 2
  • Liu, Xiaofan1, 2
  • Fu, Yanping2
  • Lin, Yang2
  • Xie, Jiatao1, 2
  • Cheng, Jiasen1, 2
  • Li, Bo1, 2
  • Jiang, Daohong1, 2, 3
  • 1 State Key Laboratory of Agricultural Microbiology, Huazhong Agricultural Universitygrid.35155.37, Hubei Province, Wuhan, China. , (China)
  • 2 Hubei Key Laboratory of Plant Pathology, Huazhong Agricultural Universitygrid.35155.37, Hubei Province, Wuhan, China. , (China)
  • 3 Hubei Hongshan Laboratory, Wuhan, China. , (China)
Published Article
Publication Date
Oct 26, 2021
DOI: 10.1128/mSystems.00814-21
PMID: 34519518


The symbiosis of endophytes and plants is universal in nature. However, how endophytes grow in plants is not entirely clear. Previously, we reported that a virus-infected fungal pathogen could grow in plants as an endophyte. In this study, we utilized Sclerotinia sclerotiorum strain DT-8, a virus-mediated endophyte, to investigate the mechanism of symbiosis with rapeseed by dual unique molecular identifier-RNA sequencing (dual-UMI RNA-seq). We found that the expressions of genes encoding S. sclerotiorum amylase/glucoamylase, glucose transporters, and rapeseed sugars will eventually be exported transporter 11 (SWEET11) were upregulated. It suggested that strain DT-8 might utilize plant starch as a nutrient. The defense systems of rapeseed were also activated, such as production of reactive oxygen species, phenylpropanoids, and brassinin, to control the growth of strain DT-8, while strain DT-8 counteracted host suppression by producing effector-like proteins, detoxification enzymes, and antioxidant components. Moreover, rapeseed also upregulated pectate lyase and pectinesterase genes to facilitate the colonization by strain DT-8. Our findings provide novel insights into the interaction of virus-mediated endophytes and their hosts that warrant further study. IMPORTANCE Although endophytes are widespread in nature, the interactions between endophytes and their hosts are still not fully understood. Members of a unique class of endophytes, the virus-mediated endophytic fungi, are continuously being discovered and have received wide attention. In this study, we investigated the interaction between a mycovirus-mediated endophytic fungus and its host rapeseed by using dual-UMI RNA-seq. According to the dual-UMI RNA-seq results, an aerial view of symbiotic mechanism under balanced regulation was suggested. This research expands our understanding of the symbiotic mechanisms of virus-fungus-plant interactions and could establish a foundation for the further development of practical application with virus-mediated hypovirulent fungi.

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