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Transcriptome sequencing identifies novel persistent viruses inherbicide resistant wild-grasses

Lookup NU author(s): Rebecca Stafford, Professor Neil Boonham, Professor Rick Mumford, Professor Robert Edwards



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Herbicide resistance in wild grasses is widespread in the UK, with non-target site resistance (NTSR) to multiple chemistries being particularly problematic in weed control. As a complex trait, NTSR is driven by complex evolutionary pressures and the growing awareness of the role of the phytobiome in plant abiotic stress tolerance, led us to sequence the transcriptomes of herbicide resistant and susceptible populations of black-grass and annual rye-grass for the presence of endophytes. Black-grass (Alopecurus myosuroides; Am) populations, displaying no overt disease symptoms, contained three previously undescribed viruses belonging to the Partititiviridae (AMPV1 and AMPV2) and Rhabdoviridae (AMVV1) families. These infections were widespread in UK black-grass populations and evidence was obtained for similar viruses being present in annual rye grass (Lolium rigidum), perennial rye-grass (Lolium perenne) and meadow fescue (Festuca pratensis). In black-grass, while no direct causative link was established linking viral infection to herbicide resistance, transcriptome sequencing showed a high incidence of infection in the NTSR Peldon population. The widespread infection of these weeds by little characterised and persistent viruses and their potential evolutionary role in enhancing plant stress tolerance mechanisms including NTSR warrants further investigation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sabbadin F, Glover R, Stafford R, Rozado-Aguirre Z, Boonham N, Adams I, Mumford R, Edwards R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Scientific Reports

Year: 2017

Volume: 7

Online publication date: 06/02/2017

Acceptance date: 04/01/2017

Date deposited: 06/02/2017

ISSN (electronic): 2045-2322

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/srep41987


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Funder referenceFunder name
BBSRC-CASE studentship
Fera Science Ltd.
BB/G006474/2United Kingdom's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
BB/L001489/1United Kingdom's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
BBSRC-CASE studentship