A lichen body is formed most often from green alga cells trapped in a net of ascomycetous fungi and accompanied by endolichenic or parasitic fungi, other algae, and symbiotic or free-living bacteria. The lichen’s microcosmos is inhabited by mites, insects, and other animals for which the lichen is a source of food or a place to live. Novel, four-segmented dsRNA viruses were detected in saxicolous Chrysothrix chlorina and Lepraria incana lichens. Comparison of encoded genome proteins revealed classification of the viruses to the genus Alphachrysovirus and a relationship to chrysoviruses from filamentous ascomycetous fungi. We propose the names Chrysothrix chrysovirus 1 (CcCV1) and Lepraria chrysovirus 1 (LiCV1) as acronyms for these viruses. Surprisingly, observation of Chrysothrix chlorina hybridization with fluorescent-labelled virus probe by confocal microscope revealed that the CcCV1 virus is not present in the lichen body-forming fungus but in accompanying endolichenic Penicillium citreosulfuratum fungus. These are the first descriptions of mycoviruses from a lichen environment.
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