Deep sequencing of small RNAs in tomato for virus and viroid identification and strain differentiation

Rugang Li, Shan Gao, Alvaro G. Hernandez, W. Patrick Wechter, Zhangjun Fei, Kai Shu Ling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Small RNAs (sRNA), including microRNAs (miRNA) and small interfering RNAs (siRNA), are produced abundantly in plants and animals and function in regulating gene expression or in defense against virus or viroid infection. Analysis of siRNA profiles upon virus infection in plant may allow for virus identification, strain differentiation, and de novo assembly of virus genomes. In the present study, four suspected virus-infected tomato samples collected in the U.S. and Mexico were used for sRNA library construction and deep sequencing. Each library generated between 5-7 million sRNA reads, of which more than 90% were from the tomato genome. Upon in-silico subtraction of the tomato sRNAs, the remaining highly enriched, virus-like siRNA pools were assembled with or without reference virus or viroid genomes. A complete genome was assembled for Potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd) using siRNA alone. In addition, a near complete virus genome (98%) also was assembled for Pepino mosaic virus (PepMV). A common mixed infection of two strains of PepMV (EU and US1), which shared 82% of genome nucleotide sequence identity, also could be differentially assembled into their respective genomes. Using de novo assembly, a novel potyvirus with less than 60% overall genome nucleotide sequence identity to other known viruses was discovered and its full genome sequence obtained. Taken together, these data suggest that the sRNA deep sequencing technology will likely become an efficient and powerful generic tool for virus identification in plants and animals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere37127
JournalPloS one
Volume7
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 18 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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