Replication of avocado sunblotch viroid in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Author(s): Delan-Forino C, Maurel MC, Torchet C

Abstract

Viroids are the smallest known pathogenic agents. They are noncoding, single-stranded, closed-circular, "naked" RNAs, which replicate through RNA-RNA transcription. Viroids of the Avsunviroidae family possess a hammerhead ribozyme in their sequence, allowing self-cleavage during their replication. To date, viroids have only been detected in plant cells. Here, we investigate the replication of Avocado sunblotch viroid (ASBVd) of the Avsunviroidae family in a nonconventional host, the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We demonstrate that ASBVd RNA strands of both polarities are able to self-cleave and to replicate in a unicellular eukaryote cell. We show that the viroid monomeric RNA is destabilized by the nuclear 3' and the cytoplasmic 5' RNA degradation pathways. For the first time, our results provide evidence that viroids can replicate in other organisms than plants and that yeast contains all of the essential cellular elements for the replication of ASBVd.

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