Characterization of Transcriptional Responses to Genomovirus Infection of the White Mold Fungus, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum

Viruses. 2022 Aug 27;14(9):1892. doi: 10.3390/v14091892.


Soybean leaf-associated gemygorvirus-1 (SlaGemV-1) is a CRESS-DNA virus classified in the family Genomoviridae, which causes hypovirulence and abolishes sclerotia formation in infected fungal pathogens under the family Sclerotiniaceae. To investigate the mechanisms involved in the induction of hypovirulence, RNA-Seq was compared between virus-free and SlaGemV-1-infected Sclerotinia sclerotiorum strain DK3. Overall, 4639 genes were differentially expressed, with 50.5% up regulated and 49.5% down regulated genes. GO enrichments suggest changes in integral membrane components and transmission electron microscopy images reveal virus-like particles localized near the inner cell membrane. Differential gene expression analysis focused on genes responsible for cell cycle and DNA replication and repair pathways, ubiquitin proteolysis, gene silencing, methylation, pathogenesis-related, sclerotial development, carbohydrate metabolism, and oxalic acid biosynthesis. Carbohydrate metabolism showed the most changes, with two glycoside hydrolase genes being the most down regulated by -2396.1- and -648.6-fold. Genes relating to pathogenesis showed consistent down regulation with the greatest being SsNep1, SsSSVP1, and Endo2 showing, -4555-, -14.7-, and -12.3-fold changes. The cell cycle and DNA replication/repair pathways were almost entirely up regulated including a putative cyclin and separase being up regulated 8.3- and 5.2-fold. The oxalate decarboxylase genes necessary for oxalic acid catabolism and oxalic acid precursor biosynthesis genes and its metabolism show down regulations of -17.2- and -12.1-fold changes. Sclerotial formation genes also appear differentially regulated including a melanin biosynthesis gene Pks1 and a sclerotia formation gene Sl2 with fold changes of 3.8 and -2.9.

Keywords: RNA-Seq; Sclerotinia sclerotiorum; genomovirus; hypovirulence; mycovirus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Ascomycota* / genetics
  • Cyclins / metabolism
  • Glycoside Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Melanins / metabolism
  • Oxalic Acid / metabolism
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology
  • Separase / metabolism
  • Ubiquitins / metabolism
  • Virulence
  • Viruses*


  • Cyclins
  • Melanins
  • Ubiquitins
  • Oxalic Acid
  • Glycoside Hydrolases
  • Separase

Supplementary concepts

  • Sclerotinia sclerotiorum

Grant support

This research was funded by the National Sclerotinia Initiative (3060-21220-031-00D; accession#: 0432211) and the United States Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service CRIS (5082-21000-001-000D; accession#: 0438340) to Shin-Yi Marzano.