Virus Genes. 2019 Feb 21. doi: 10.1007/s11262-019-01650-6. [Epub ahead of print]

Read DA1, Featherston J2, Rees DJG2, Thompson GD2, Roberts R3, Flett BC4, Mashingaidze K4, Pietersen G5, Kiula B6, Kullaya A7, Mbega ER8.

Author information

1. Agricultural Research Council – Biotechnology Platform, Private Bag X05, Onderstepoort, 0110, South Africa.
2. Agricultural Research Council – Biotechnology Platform, Private Bag X05, Onderstepoort, 0110, South Africa.
3. Agricultural Research Council – Plant Protection Research, Private Bag X134, Queenswood, 0001, South Africa.
4. Agricultural Research Council – Grain Crops, Private Bag X1251, Potchefstroom, 2520, South Africa.
5. Department of Genetics, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, 7600, South Africa.
6. Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI, Ilonga), Kilosa, Morogoro, Tanzania.
7. Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI, Mikocheni), Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
8. Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST), Arusha, Tanzania.


Typically associated with fungal species, members of the viral family Totiviridae have recently been shown to be associated with plants, including important crop species, such as Carica papaya (papaya) and Zea mays (maize). Maize-associated totivirus (MATV) was first described in China and more recently in Ecuador, where it has been found to co-occur with other viruses known to elicit maize lethal necrosis disease (MLND). In a survey for maize-associated viruses, 35 samples were selected for Illumina HiSeq sequencing, from the Tanzanian maize producing regions of Mara, Arusha, Manyara, Kilimanjaro, Morogoro and Pwani. Libraries were prepared using an RNA-tag-seq methodology. Taxonomic classification of the resulting datasets showed that 6 of the 35 samples from the regions of Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Morogoro and Mara, contained reads that were assigned to MATV reference sequences. This was confirmed with PCR and Sanger sequencing. Read assembly of the six MATV-associated datasets yielded partial MATV genomes, two of which were selected for further characterization, using RACE. This yielded two full-length MATV genomes, one of which is divergent from other available MATV genomes.


Illumina sequencing; Maize; Maize lethal necrosis disease; Tanzania; Totivirus


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