The exclusion among the Ustilago viruses - A dsRNA restriction modification system?

Y. Koltin*, Ronit Levine, Aviva Tamarkin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Specific exclusion relations are know among the three Ustilago maydis viruses that are associated with the cytoplasmically transmitted 'killer phemomenon'. Of the three viruses P1, P4 and P6, only P1, and P4 cancoexist in one host cell. Mutual exclusion occurs between P1 and P6 and P4 unilaterally excludes P6. The exclusion relations were originally defined among the wild-type viruses. Those relations can be modified by two specific segments that are a part of the P4 dsRNA genome and were also found in some sensitive strains that contained part of the viral genome. Also, deletion of the dsRNA segment that is assumed to encode the toxin information permits the formation of hybrid genomes that otherwise cannot be formed. The data is interpreted in terms of a dsRNA restriction modification system in which the killer toxin or a toxin-linked function acts as the restriction factor and segments H3 and H4 or H4 alone contain the necessary information for the modification of certain sites on the M and L segments of the P1 and P4 viruses but not on the P6 segments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-192
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Genetics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1980


  • Double stranded RNA
  • Restriction/modification
  • Ustilago
  • Virus


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