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Bipartite networks of hosts and viromes: diversity of viruses of papaya orchards, associated weeds and potential vectors in Southern Mexico

Ricardo Alcalá-Briseño: Department of Plant Pathology, University of Florida

<div>Intraspecific virus interactions affect disease severity, and interspecific interactions (mixed infections) can result in either synergism or antagonism. At least 15 plant viruses are reported to infect papaya, suggesting the potential for multiple interactions and differences in symptomatology. This work is the first to characterize viral diversity using metagenomics in two regions of Chiapas, one of the largest papaya production regions in Mexico. Plants with three types of papaya symptoms were analyzed: visually asymptomatic, PRSV-typical symptoms, and other viral symptoms. Weeds and insects in areas surrounding papaya orchards were also analyzed. The ecological interactions in the virome were analyzed in a bipartite network framework with two types of nodes, location/host and virus, where links represent an association. There were differences by location and host combination, revealing a structure between a modular and a nested community. This ecological network represents the dynamics of the primary host (papaya), the secondary host (weeds) and potential vectors (insects). We identified known and emergent viruses associated with papaya plants and weeds, and potential associations with vectors. Management of viruses associated with the papaya industry can be improved by sanitizing tools and implementing strategies to control populations of beetles and leafhoppers, the vectors of novel viral species reported in this study.</div>