High spatiotemporal virus diversity and ecological comparments

The emergence of viral diseases involves transmission between wild plants and crops. However, the diversity of non-antagonistic symbioses that influence these dynamics among plant communities remains to be uncovered. A high throughput sequencing approach was used to compare viruses of 41 species of wild plants growing in melon crop fields and the adjacent edges between crop fields. A rich virome was found, with 104 viruses detected. Plant-virus interactions of the 41 plant hosts and 104 viruses were largely confined to one or the other of these two plant communities, indicating limitations to inoculum flows. Most hosts showed no disease symptoms, which indicated non-antagonistic symbioses are common. Increased specialist host use through the seasons coincided with sporadic changes in communities of the viruses and plant species. The coexistence of viruses within plant communities that are under constant change, promotes the evolution of a diversity of transmission strategies, some of which favour the emergence of disease.

Plant-virus interaction network at Edge and Crop. Green nodes represent host species and grey nodes represent viruses, with the size proportional to the number of infections. Links are coloured according to the community in which the interaction occurs. Names of host species are not given for clarity.

Original Paper:

McLeish, M.J., Zamfir, A.D., Babalola, B.M., Peláez, A., Fraile, A., García-Arenal, F. 2022. Metagenomics show high spatiotemporal virus diversity and ecological compartmentalisation: Virus infections of melon, Cucumis melo, crops, and adjacent wild communities. Virus Evolution 8, veac095. DOI: 10.1093/ve/veac095