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Genetic differentiation and migration fluxes of viruses from melon crops and crop edge weeds

Maachi, A. ; Donaire, L. ; Hernando, Y. ; Aranda, M.A. Journal of Virology, August 2021 | doi : 10.1128/jvi.00421-22 Weeds surrounding crops may act as alternative hosts, playing important epidemiological roles as virus reservoirs and impacting virus evolution. We used high-throughput sequencing to identify viruses in Spanish melon crops and plants belonging to three pluriannual weed species, Ecballium elaterium, Malva sylvestris, and Solanum nigrum, sampled at the edges of the crops.

Melon and E. elaterium, both belonging to the family Cucurbitaceae, shared three virus species, whereas there was no virus species overlap between melon and the other two weeds. The diversity of cucurbit aphid-borne yellows virus (CABYV) and tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus (ToLCNDV), both in melon and E. elaterium, was further studied by amplicon sequencing. Phylogenetic and population genetics analyses showed that the CABYV population was structured by the host, identifying three sites in the CABYV RNA-dependent RNA polymerase under positive selection, perhaps reflecting host adaptation. The ToLCNDV population was much less diverse than the CABYV one, likely as a consequence of the relatively recent introduction of ToLCNDV in Spain. In spite of its low diversity, we identified geographical but no host differentiation for ToLCNDV. Potential virus migration fluxes between E. elaterium and melon plants were also analyzed. For CABYV, no evidence of migration between the populations of the two hosts was found, whereas important fluxes were identified between geographically distant subpopulations for each host. For ToLCNDV, in contrast, evidence of migration from melon to E. elaterium was found, but not the other way around.

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