Novel marine diatom ssRNA virus NitRevRNAV infecting Nitzschia reversa
Cover of volume 152, number 2 of Plant Ecology and Evolution


marine virus
algal virus
new species

How to Cite

Toyoda, K., Kimura, K., Osada, K., Williams, D., Adachi, T., Yamada, K. and Tomaru, Y. (2019) “Novel marine diatom ssRNA virus NitRevRNAV infecting Nitzschia reversa”, Plant Ecology and Evolution, 152(2), pp. 178-187. doi: 10.5091/plecevo.2019.1615.


Background and aims – Diatoms are one of the most species rich groups of organisms on Earth. They are fundamental in supporting the biomass of the natural environment. The presence of marine viruses can greatly influence diatom diversity in their natural environment and has attracted interest from multi-disciplinary research teams after a diatom infected virus was reported for the first time in the 21st century. As initial research in this field demonstrated, for the acquisition of a new virus it is important to learn about their infect hosts. Therefore, we have been searching for new viruses that infect diatoms.

Methods – A clonal host species Nitzschia reversa was isolated from natural sea water. Aliquots of the filtrates obtained from this sea water were inoculated to yield the exponentially-growing isolated host species. The resultant lysate was used as a clonal lysate and treated as a clonal virus suspension. The suspension was then used for further analysis of various biochemical studies.

Key results – We discovered and isolated a new virus that infected the pennate diatom Nitzschia reversa. Since this newly discovered virus was a single strand RNA virus, it has capsid proteins with 30 nm size icosahedron without an envelope. The species epithet is NitRevRNAV.

Conclusions – In this study, we described the morphology, genome type and partial sequences, as well as lytic activities, of the new species NitRevRNAV. Of note, the virus harbours a positive-sense single-stranded RNA genome. These features were highly similar to those of previously known diatom RNA viruses therefore NitRevRNAV is a new member of the genus Bacillarnavirus in the Order Picornavirales.


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