Francesco Di Serio

Viroids and viroid disease

Viroids are the smallest infectious agents known so far. Consisting of a small circular RNA, they may cause severe diseases to economically relevant crops (tomato, potato, peach, citrus, etc.). In contrast to viruses, viroids do not code for any protein. Therefore, the infectious process relies on the presence of structural domains in the viroid RNAs allowing them to interact directly with host factors. This feature makes viroids useful implements for getting deeper insights into the structural-functional relationships of both foreign and host RNAs.
In our laboratory, we develop multidisciplinary researches – also based on high-throughput sequencing (HTS) technologies – addressed to further characterize molecular bases underlying plant-viroid interaction, with major interest in unveiling the role of RNA silencing in viroid trafficking and pathogenesis and the epigenetic effects of viroid infections in the host genome.
From an applied point of view, we focus on molecular and biological characterization viroids causing diseases in fruit trees, grapevine, vegetables and ornamental plants, on development of fast and reliable detection methods, and on the identification of control strategies of viroid diseases.
In the last years we applied HTS to the identification of the new viruses and viroid-like RNAs and started researches on the microbiome and virome of Trioza eritreae, the insect vector of huanglongbing disease in citrus.



Articles and book chapters since 2008

  • 2018 - Double-Stranded RNA-Enriched preparations to identify viroids by next-generation sequencing - Navarro B., Di Serio F. - in Viral Metagenomics: Methods and Protocols, 37-43
  • 2018 - First report of avocado sunblotch viroid (ASBVd) naturally infecting avocado (Persea Americana) in Greece - Lotos L., Kavroulakis N., Navarro B., Di Serio F., Olmos A., Ruiz-Garcia A.B., Katis N.I., Maliogka V.I. - Plant disease, 102: 1470
  • 2018 - A negative-stranded RNA virus infecting citrus trees: The second member of a new genus within the order bunyavirales - Navarro B., Zicca S., Minutolo M., Saponari M., Alioto D., Di Serio F. - Frontiers in microbiology, volume 9
  • 2018 - Taxonomy of the family Arenaviridae and the order Bunyavirales: update 2018 - Maes P., Alkhovsky S.V., Bao Y., Beer M., Birkhead M., Briese T., Buchmeier M.J., Calisher C.H., Charrel R.N., Choi I.R., Clegg C.S., de la Torre J.C., Delwart E., DeRisi J.L., Di Bello P.L., Di Serio F., Digiaro M., Dolja V.V., Drosten C., Druciarek T.Z., Du J., Ebihara H., Elbeaino T., Gergerich R.C., Gillis A.N., Gonzalez J.-P.J., Haenni A.-L., Hepojoki J., Hetzel U., Ho T., Hong N., Jain R.K., Jansen van Vuren P., Jin Q., Jonson M.G., Junglen S., Keller K.E., Kemp A., Kipar A., Kondov N.O., Koonin E.V., Kormelink R., Korzyukov Y., Krupovic M., Lambert A.J., Laney A.G., LeBreton M., Lukashevich I.S., Marklewitz M., Markotter W., Martelli G.P., Martin R.R., Mielke-Ehret N., Muhlbach H.-P., Navarro B., Ng T.F.F., Nunes M.R.T., Palacios G., Paweska J.T., Peters C.J., Plyusnin A., Radoshitzky S.R., Romanowski V., Salmenpera P., Salvato M.S., Sanfacon H., Sasaya T., Schmaljohn C., Schneider B.S., Shirako Y., Siddell S., Sironen T.A., Stenglein M.D., Storm N., Sudini H., Tesh R.B., Tzanetakis I.E., Uppala M., Vapalahti O., Vasilakis N., Walker P.J., Wang G., Wang L., Wang Y., Wei T., Wiley M.R., Wolf Y.I., Wolfe N.D., Wu Z., Xu W., Yang L., Yang Z., Yeh S.-D., Zhang Y.-Z., Zheng Y., Zhou X., Zhu C., Zirkel F., Kuhn J.H. - Archives of virology, 163: 2295-2310
  • 2018 - First Report of Grapevine Latent Viroid Infecting Grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) in Italy - Rotunno S., Vaira A.M., Marian D., Schneider A., Raimondi S., Di Serio F., Navarro B., Miozzi L. - Plant Disease , volume 9
  • 2018 - The first phlebo-like virus infecting plants: a case study on the adaptation of negative-stranded RNA viruses to new hosts - Navarro B., Minutolo M., De Stradis A., Palmisano F., Alioto D., Di Serio F. - Molecular Plant Pathology , 19: 1075-1089
  • 2018 - Viroid diseases in pome and stone fruit trees and Koch’s postulates: A critical assessment - Di Serio F., Ambros S., Sano T., Flores R., Navarro B. - Viruses, 10
  • 2017 - Molecular Hybridization Techniques for Detecting and Studying Viroids - Pallas V., Sanchez-Navarro J.A., Kinard G.R., Di Serio F. - Viroids and Satellites, 369-379
  • 2017 - Identification and characterization of privet leaf blotch-associated virus, a novel idaeovirus - Navarro B., Loconsole G., Giampetruzzi A., Aboughanem-Sabanadzovic N., Ragozzino A., Ragozzino E., Di Serio F. - Molecular Plant Pathology , 18: 925-936
  • 2017 - Peach Latent Mosaic Viroid in Infected Peach - Flores R., Navarro B., Delgado S., Hernandez C., Xu W.-X., Barba M., Hadidi A., Di Serio F. - Viroids and Satellites, 307-316
  • 2017 - Viroid pathogenesis - Flores R., Di Serio F., Navarro B., Owens R.A. - Viroids and Satellites, 93-103
  • 2017 - Small Circular Satellite RNAs - Navarro B., Rubino L., Di Serio F. - Viroids and Satellites, 659-669
  • 2017 - Viroid Taxonomy - Di Serio F., Li S.F., Pallás V., Owens R.A., Randles J.W., Sano T., Verhoeven J.Th J., Vidalakis G., Flores R. - Viroids and Satellites, 135-146
  • 2017 - Other Apscaviroids Infecting Pome Fruit Trees - Di Serio F., Torchetti E.M., Flores R., Sano T. - Viroids and Satellites, 229-241
  • 2017 - Origin and Evolution of Viroids - Di Serio F., Navarro B., Flores R. - Viroids and Satellites, 125-134
  • 2017 - Viroids Infecting the Grapevine - Di Serio F., Izadpanah K., Hajizadeh M., Navarro B. - Grapevine Viruses: Molecular Biology, Diagnostics and Management, 373-392
  • 2017 - Actinidia chlorotic ringspot-associated virus: a novel emaravirus infecting kiwifruit plants - Zheng Y., Navarro B., Wang G., Wang Y., Yang Z., Xu W., Zhu C., Wang L., Di Serio F., Hong N. - Molecular Plant Pathology ,
  • 2017 - Engineering resistance against viroids - Flores R., Navarro B., Kovalskaya N., Hammond R.W., Di Serio F. - Current opinion in virology, 26: 1-7
  • 2016 - A nuclear-replicating viroid antagonizes infectivity and accumulation of a geminivirus by upregulating methylationrelated genes and inducing hypermethylation of viral DNA - Torchetti E.M., Pegoraro M., Navarro B., Catoni M., Di Serio F., Noris E. - Scientific Reports ,
  • 2015 - Viroid RNA turnover: Characterization of the subgenomic RNAs of potato spindle tuber viroid accumulating in infected tissues provides insights into decay pathways operating in vivo - Minoia S., Navarro B., Delgado S., Di Serio F., Flores R. - Nucleic Acid Research, 43:2313-2325
  • 2015 - Viroids, the simplest RNA replicons: How they manipulate their hosts for being propagated and how their hosts react for containing the infection - Flores R., Minoia S., Carbonell A., Gisel A., Delgado S., Lopez-carrasco A., Navarro B., Di Serio F. - Virus Research , 209: 135-145
  • 2015 - Identification and characterization of a novel geminivirus with a monopartite genome infecting apple trees - Liang P., Navarro B., Zhang Z., Wang H., Lu M., Xiao H., Wu Q., Zhou X., Di Serio F., Li S. - Journal Of General Virology (Print), 96:2411-2420
  • 2015 - Identification and molecular characterization of a novel monopartite geminivirus associated with mulberry mosaic dwarf disease - Ma Y., Navarro B., Zhang Z., Lu M., Zhou X., Chi S., Di Serio F., Li S. - Journal Of General Virology (Print), 96:2421-2434
  • 2015 - First report of iresine viroid 1 in ornamental pants in Italy and of Celosia cristata as a novel natural host - Sorrentino R., Torchetti E.M., Minutolo M., Di Serio F., Alioto D. - Monograph - American Phytopathological Society , 99: 1655
  • 2015 - Grapevine viroids and Grapevine fanleaf virus in North-West Iran - Hajizadeh M., Torchetti E.M., Sokhandan-Bashir N., Navarro B., Martelli G.P., Di Serio F. - Journal Of Plant Pathology (Print), 97:363-368
  • 2014 - Viroid-like RNAs from cherry trees affected by leaf scorch disease: Further data supporting their association with mycoviral double-stranded RNAs - Minoia S.,Navarro B.,Covelli L.,Barone M.,Garcia-Becedas M.T.,Ragozzino A.,Alioto D.,Flores R.,Di Serio F. - Archives Of Virology , 159:589-593
  • 2014 - Identification and characterization of a viroid resembling apple dimple fruit viroid in fig (Ficus carica L.) by next generation sequencing of small RNAs - Chiumenti M.,Torchetti E.M.,Di Serio F.,Minafra A. - Virus Research , 188:54-59
  • 2014 - Specific argonautes selectively bind small RNAs derived from potato spindle tuber viroid and attenuate viroid accumulation in vivo - Minoia S., Carbonell A., Di Serio F., Gisel A., Carrington J.C., Navarro B., Flores R. - Journal Of Virology , 88:11933-11945
  • 2014 - Survey on viroids infecting grapevine in Italy: Identification and characterization of Australian grapevine viroid and Grapevine yellow speckle viroid 2 - Gambino G.,Navarro B.,Torchetti E.M.,La Notte P.,Schneider A.,Mannini F.,Di Serio F. - European Journal Of Plant Pathology , 140:199-205
  • 2014 - Current status of viroid taxonomy - Di Serio F.,Flores R.,Verhoeven J. Th. J.,Li S-F.,Pallas V.,Randles J. W.,Sano T.,Vidalakis G.,Owens R. A. - Archives Of Virology , 159:3467-3478
  • 2013 - The genetic diversity of Citrus dwarfing viroid populations is mainly dependent on the infected host species - Tessitori M., Rizza S., Reina A., Causarano G., Di Serio F. - Journal Of General Virology, 94:687-693
  • 2013 - Cytopathic effects incited by viroid RNAs and putative underlying mechanisms - Di Serio F., De Stradis A., Delgado S., Flores R., Navarro B. - Frontiers in plant science, 3:288
  • 2012 - A single polyprobe for detecting simultaneously eight pospiviroids infecting ornamentals and vegetables - Torchetti E.M., Navarro B., Di Serio F. - Journal of Virological Methods, 186:141-146
  • 2012 - Small RNAs containing the pathogenic determinant of a chloroplast-replicating viroid guide the degradation of a host mRNA as predicted by RNA silencing - Navarro B., Gisel A., Rodio M.E., Delgado S., Flores R., Di Serio F. - Plant Journal, 70:991-1003
  • 2012 - The role of plant viroids in diseases – new developments - Di Serio F., Torchetti E.M., Flores R., Navarro, B. - CAB Reviews, 7:1-9
  • 2012 - Viroids: How to infect a host and cause disease without encoding proteins - Navarro B., Gisel A., Rodio M.E., Delgado S., Flores R., Di Serio F. - Biochimie, 94:1474-1480
  • 2012 - Development and validation of a multiplex RT-PCR method for the simultaneous detection of five grapevine viroids - Hajizadeh M., Navarro B., Bashir N.S., Torchetti E.M., Di Serio F. - Journal of Virological Methods , 179:62-69
  • 2012 - I viroidi delle colture ornamentali: emergenze fitosanitarie e misure di controllo - Di Serio F., Torchetti E.M., Navarro B. - Criticità e prospettive delle emergenze fitosanitarie , 37-49
  • 2012 - First report of Chrysanthemum stunt viroid in Argyranthemum frutescens in Italy - Torchetti E.M., Navarro B., Trisciuzzi V.N., Nuccitelli L., Silletti M.R., Di Serio F. - Journal of Plant Pathology, 94:451-454
  • 2012 - Viroids: from genotype to phenotype just relying on RNA sequence and structural motifs - Flores R., Serra P., Minoia S., Di Serio F., Navarro B. - Frontiers in Microbiology, 3:217
  • 2011 - Viroids - Owens R.A., Flores R., Di Serio F., Li S-F., Pallas V., Randles J.W., Sano T., Vidalakis G. - Virus Taxonomy: Ninth Report Of The International Committee On Taxonomy Of Viruses , Publisher: Eds: Andrew M.Q. King, Michael J. Adams, Eric B.
  • 2011 - Viroids and viroid diseases of plants - Flores R., Di Serio F., Navarro Ramirez B., Duran-Vila N., Owens R.A. - Studies In Viral Ecology, Volume One: Microbial And Botanical Host Systems , Publisher: Edited by Christon J. Hurst , John Wiley & Sons
  • 2011 - Peach latent mosaic viroid and its Diseases in Peach Trees - Flores R., Di Serio F., Hernandez C., Barba M., Hadidi A. - Virus And Virus-like Diseases Of Pome And Stone Fruits , Publisher: Hadidi A., Barba M., Candresse T., Jelkmann W.
  • 2011 - First record of Citrus exocortis viroid infecting Solanum jasminoides in Italy - Torchetti E.M., Navarro B., Di Serio F. - Journal of Plant Pathology, 93
  • 2011 - Viroids - R. Flores, J.A. Daros, Hernandez C., Di Serio F. - Encyclopedia Of Life Sciences , Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc
  • 2011 - Apple dimple fruit viroid - Di Serio F., Malfitano M., Alioto D., Ragozzino A., Flores R. - Virus And Virus-like Diseases Of Pome And Stone Fruits , Publisher: Hadidi A., Barba M., Candresse T., Jelkmann W.
  • 2011 - Citrus tristeza virus infection induces the accumulation of viral small RNAs (21 24-nt) mapping preferentially at the 3′-terminal region of the genomic RNA and affects the host small RNA profile - Ruiz-Ruiz S., Navarro B., Gisel A., PeÑa L., Navarro L., Moreno P., Di Serio F., Flores R. - Plant Molecular Biology (05842J0), 75: 607-619
  • 2011 - Somatic embryogenesis efficiently eliminates viroid infections from grapevines - Gambino G., Navarro B., Vallania R., Gribaudo I., Di Serio F. - European Journal Of Plant Pathology (10845J0), 130: 511-519
  • 2010 - Virosi e fitoplasmosi - Barba M., Martelli G.P., Tomassoli L., Gallitelli D., Di Serio F., Pasquini G. - In: Il Pomodoro. Editor: BayerCrop Science/Script Art, 220-235
  • 2010 - Viroidi: una classe di patogeni emergenti poco nota - Di Serio F., Navarro B. - Protezione Delle Colture , 4:2-8
  • 2010 - Multiple viroid infections in Iranian grapevines - Hajizadeh M., Navarro B., Bashir N.S., Di Serio F. - Journal Of Plant Pathology, 92:107-122
  • 2010 - Detection And Identification Of Viroids Damaging Potato And Fruit Trees - Di Serio F., Navarro B. - Élelmiszerbiztonság Megítélési Módszerei Ii (Methods to evaluate food safety. II), Publisher: Editor: Arpad Ambrus. Publishing: Edison House Hol
  • 2010 - Molecular characterization of turkish isolates of Pear blister canker viroid and assestment of the sequence variability of this viroid - Yesilcollou S., Minoia S., Torchetti E.M., Kaymak S., Gumus M., Myrta A., Navarro B., Di Serio F. - Journal of Plant Pathology, 92:813-819
  • 2010 - RNA -Dependent RNA Polymerase 6 Delays Accumulation and Precludes Meristem Invasion of a Viroid That Replicates in the Nucleus - Di Serio F., Martínez de Alba A.E., Navarro B., Gisel A., Flores R. - Journal of Virology, 84: 2477-2489
  • 2010 - RNA-dependent RNA Polymerase 6 Delays Accumulation And Precludes Meristem Invasion Of A Nuclear-replicating Viroid - Di Serio F., Martínez De Alba A.E., Navarro B., Gisel A., Flores R. - Journal Of Virology, 84:2477-2489
  • 2009 - Deep sequencing of the small RNAs derived from two symptomatic variants of a chloroplastic viroid: implications for their genesis and for pathogenesis - Di Serio F., Gisel A., Navarro B., Delgado S., Martínez De Alba Á.E., Donvito G.. Flores R. - Plos One, 4:e7539
  • 2009 - Deep sequencing of viroid-derived small RNAs from grapevine provides new insights on the role of RNA silencing in plant-viroid interaction - Navarro B., Pantaleo V., Gisel A., Moxon S., Dalmay T., Bisztray G., Di Serio F., Burgyan J. - PLoS ONE, 4:e7686
  • 2009 - Identification and characterization of Potato spindle tuber viroid infecting tomato in Italy - Navarro B., Siletti M.R., Trisciuzzi V.N., Di Serio F. - Journal of Plant Pathology, 91:723-726
  • 2009 - Il viroide PSTVD minaccia pomodoro e patata - Silletti M.R., Navarro B., Bozzano G., Trisciuzzi V.n., Di Serio F - Informatore Agrario , 11:89-90
  • 2008 - Viroid-host interactions : A molecular dialogue between two uneven partners - Flores, R., Carbonell, A., Gago, S., Martinez De Alba, A.e., Delgado, S., Rodio, M.e. & Di Serio, F. - Biology Of Plant Microbe Interactions Cd, Vol. 6 , Publisher: Lorito, M., Woo, S.L. Scala, F.
  • 2008 - Viroids: molecular implements for dissecting RNA trafficking in plants - Di Serio F., Flores R. - Rna Biology (00199NN), 5: 128-131
  • 2008 - Molecular and developmental alterations elicited by a chloroplastic viroid - Di Serio F., Rodio M.e., Delgado S., De Stradis A., Gómez M.d, Flores R. - Biology Of Plant Microbe Interaction Cd, Vol. 6 , Publisher: Lorito, M., Woo, S.L., Scala, F.
  • 2008 - Sequences of the smallest double-stranded RNAs associated with cherry chlorotic rusty spot and Amasya cherry diseases - Covelli L., Kozlakidis Z., Di Serio F., Citir A., Açikgöz S., Hernández C., Ragozzino A., Coutts R.h., R. Flores - Archives Of Virology (15471J0), 153: 759-762
  • 2008 - First report of cucumber mosaic virus infecting Solanum jasminoides in Italy - Davino S., Di Serio F., Polizzi G., Tessitori M. - Plant Disease (01997J0), Publisher: 92