First report of ash shoestring-associated virus (ASaV) infecting European ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.) in France - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Plant Disease Year : 2022

First report of ash shoestring-associated virus (ASaV) infecting European ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.) in France


Ash shoestring-associated virus (ASaV) is a recently described Emaravirus with five genome segments identified in Germany and Switzerland from European ash (Fraxinus excelsior) or South European flowering ash (F. ornus) trees with chlorotic spots or mosaics and leaf curling or leaf shoestring symptoms [1]. In summer 2021 several European ash trees with severe leaf mosaic and deformation were observed 50 km south east of Bordeaux (France). Double stranded RNAs were purified from the leaves of one of the trees (2021-432) and analyzed by Illumina high throughput sequencing (HTS, 2x150 nt) as described [2]. Following quality trimming, reads were assembled de novo (CLC Genomics Workbench 21, Qiagen) and contigs annotated by BlastX analysis. Contigs homologous to ASaV genomic RNAs 2 to 5 were identified. For ASaV RNA2, four contigs were identified which could be manually assembled to yield a single scaffold while a single contig was obtained for RNAs 3, 4 and 5. The RNA2 scaffold assembled 1,206 reads for an average coverage of 58.2x, while the corresponding values for RNAs 3 to 5 were respectively 21,381 reads (1,529x), 18,146 reads (1,266x) and 1,234 reads (97.4x). While no contig was identified for ASaV RNA1 (or for other viruses), mapping of reads on an RNA1 reference (OU466880) allowed to identify 25 reads for this genomic segment (average coverage 0.4x). In total, ASaV reads represented 3.9% of the ca. 1 million reads obtained from the ash sample. The RNAs 2 to 5 scaffolds for isolate 2021-432 have been deposited in GenBank (OP501824-7). They show between 94.6% and 97.6% nucleotide identity with the corresponding RNAs of a reference isolate (OU466881-4). In order to validate the presence of ASaV in the original tree, PCR primers were designed based on RNAs 1 and 3 sequences. Primers ASaV1-F (5’-ATTATTCACAGTATGAAAGGG-3’) and ASaV1-R (5’-GGTGTGGAGAATATCAAACC-3’) amplify a 286 nt RNA1 fragment, while primers ASaV3-F (5’-GCTATACCCAGCTGAGGTGC-3’) and ASaV3-R (5’-GTGTGCAATTCTATCAGCCTC-3’) amplify a 322 nt RNA3 fragment. Amplicons of the expected size were obtained and directly sequenced. The RNA3 amplicon sequence was identical to the corresponding region of the HTS contig, while the RNA1 amplicon was 97.5% identical to the OU466880 reference sequence. The same primer pairs and a third one, ASaV4-F (5’- GAGGTTGCTTTGATGTCAGG -3’) and ASaV4-R (5’- TGCCTCTCCGATGGTGATG -3’), amplifying a 411 nt RNA4 fragment, were used to test a European ash (2022-91) showing similar mosaic and shoestring symptoms collected in spring 2022 about 170 km south of Bordeaux. Again, amplifications were positive and the sequences of the amplicons showed 94.3 to 96.5% nt identity with the corresponding regions of the reference ASaV isolate and 93.9 to 94.3% identity with the French 2021-432 isolate. The PCR amplicon sequences for the two French isolates have been deposited in GenBank (OP501828-32). To our knowledge, these results represent the first report of a natural infection of ASaV in European ash in France. Identification of the virus in two ash populations about 150 km apart suggests the virus maybe widespread. The finding of ASaV in an ash tree with severe leaf symptoms and in which no other virus was identified by HTS supports its role as the causal agent of the symptoms observed. Ash trees in Europe are already threatened by the invasive ash dieback agent [3] and ASaV represents a further potential threat that deserves to be evaluated.

Dates and versions

hal-03857943 , version 1 (17-11-2022)



Laurence Svanella-Dumas, Chantal Faure, Armelle Marais, Thierry Candresse. First report of ash shoestring-associated virus (ASaV) infecting European ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.) in France. Plant Disease, 2022, Online ahead of print, ⟨10.1094/PDIS-09-22-2272-PDN⟩. ⟨hal-03857943⟩
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