Virology, Nebraska Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Virology 442:2 (August 1, 2013), pp. 101–113; DOI: 10.1016/j.virol.2013.04.018


Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. Used by permission.


With growing industrial interest in algae plus their critical roles in aquatic systems, the need to understand the effects of algal pathogens is increasing. We examined a model algal host–virus system, Chlorella variabilis NC64A and virus, PBCV-1. C. variabilis encodes 375 homologs to genes involved in RNA silencing and in response to virus infection in higher plants. Illumina RNA-Seq data showed that 325 of these homologs were expressed in healthy and early PBCV-1 infected (≤60 min) cells. For each of the RNA silencing genes to which homologs were found, mRNA transcripts were detected in healthy and infected cells. C. variabilis, like higher plants, may employ certain RNA silencing pathways to defend itself against virus infection. To our knowledge this is the first examination of RNA silencing genes in algae beyond core proteins, and the first analysis of their transcription during virus infection.