Discovery of novel RNA viruses in commercially relevant seaweeds Alaria esculenta and Saccharina latissima

Voices Powered byElevenlabs logo
Connected to paperThis paper is a preprint and has not been certified by peer review

Discovery of novel RNA viruses in commercially relevant seaweeds Alaria esculenta and Saccharina latissima


Dekker, R. J.; de Leeuw, W. C.; van Olst, M.; Ensink, W. A.; van Leeuwen, S.; Cohen, J.; Timmermans, K. R.; Breit, T. M.; Jonker, M. J.


Seaweeds are increasingly recognized as sustainable food sources; however, their large-scale cultivation faces challenges similar to land crops, including susceptibility to pathogens. Plant viruses pose a significant threat to global food security, yet little is known about the diversity of viruses in seaweeds. This study investigates virus-associated small interfering RNA (siRNA) responses in commercially relevant seaweed species to understand RNA virus diversity, particularly in edible varieties. Through small RNA sequencing of 16 samples from Saccharina latissima and Alaria esculenta, we identified three new RNA viruses Aev-NL1, Slv-NL2 and Slv-NL3, and one new DNA virus (phaeovirus). The partial genome of the new DNA virus was discovered in the A. esculenta samples and shared 67% DNA sequence identity with the major coat protein of the large double-stranded DNA phaeovirus Feldmannia irregularis virus a. In four out of five A. esculenta samples, a new bisegmented ormycovirus-like RNA virus (Aev-NL1) was identified. A similar new virus, Slv-NL1, was found in previously published S. latissima RNA-seq data, sharing 87% sequence identity with Aev-NL1. Lastly, two novel RNA viruses, Slv-NL2 and Slv-NL3, were discovered in all eight S. latissima samples sharing limited similarity at the genome level but high sequence identity at protein level of both ORFs (>94%). Further investigation of the novel viruses\' presence across our limited set of samples revealed no conclusive associations with diseased seaweed phenotypes. The discovery of four new viruses in only a limited set of samples highlights the presence of previously unrecognized viral diversity in seaweed, thereby underscoring the importance of understanding viral diversity in seaweed as its virome is currently understudied

Follow Us on


Add comment