Single-Genome Sequencing of Hepatitis C Virus in Donor-Recipient Pairs Distinguishes Modes and Models of Virus Transmission and Early Diversification.

TitleSingle-Genome Sequencing of Hepatitis C Virus in Donor-Recipient Pairs Distinguishes Modes and Models of Virus Transmission and Early Diversification.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsLi H, Stoddard MB, Wang S, Giorgi EE, Blair LM, Learn GH, Hahn BH, Alter HJ, Busch MP, Fierer DS, Ribeiro RM, Perelson AS, Bhattacharya T, Shaw GM
JournalJournal of virology// // J Virol
Volume90
Issue1
Pagination152 - 66
Date Published2016//
ISBN Number1098-5514
Other Numberskcv, 0113724
Keywords*Genetic Variation, *Hepacivirus/cl [Classification], *Hepacivirus/ge [Genetics], *Hepatitis C/tm [Transmission], *Liver Transplantation/ae [Adverse Effects], *Tissue Donors, *Transplant Recipients, Animals, Cluster Analysis, Genome, Viral, Genotype, Genotyping Techniques, Hepacivirus/ip [Isolation & Purification], Hepatitis C/ve [Veterinary], Hepatitis C/vi [Virology], Humans, Models, Theoretical, Molecular Sequence Data, Pan troglodytes, Phylogeny, Sequence Analysis, DNA, Sequence Homology
Abstract

UNLABELLED: Despite the recent development of highly effective anti-hepatitis C virus (HCV) drugs, the global burden of this pathogen remains immense. Control or eradication of HCV will likely require the broad application of antiviral drugs and development of an effective vaccine. A precise molecular identification of transmitted/founder (T/F) HCV genomes that lead to productive clinical infection could play a critical role in vaccine research, as it has for HIV-1. However, the replication schema of these two RNA viruses differ substantially, as do viral responses to innate and adaptive host defenses. These differences raise questions as to the certainty of T/F HCV genome inferences, particularly in cases where multiple closely related sequence lineages have been observed. To clarify these issues and distinguish between competing models of early HCV diversification, we examined seven cases of acute HCV infection in humans and chimpanzees, including three examples of virus transmission between linked donors and recipients. Using single-genome sequencing (SGS) of plasma vRNA, we found that inferred T/F sequences in recipients were identical to viral sequences in their respective donors. Early in infection, HCV genomes generally evolved according to a simple model of random evolution where the coalescent corresponded to the T/F sequence. Closely related sequence lineages could be explained by high multiplicity infection from a donor whose viral sequences had undergone a pretransmission bottleneck due to treatment, immune selection, or recent infection. These findings validate SGS, together with mathematical modeling and phylogenetic analysis, as a novel strategy to infer T/F HCV genome sequences., IMPORTANCE: Despite the recent development of highly effective, interferon-sparing anti-hepatitis C virus (HCV) drugs, the global burden of this pathogen remains immense. Control or eradication of HCV will likely require the broad application of antiviral drugs and the development of an effective vaccine, which could be facilitated by a precise molecular identification of transmitted/founder (T/F) viral genomes and their progeny. We used single-genome sequencing to show that inferred HCV T/F sequences in recipients were identical to viral sequences in their respective donors and that viral genomes generally evolved early in infection according to a simple model of random sequence evolution. Altogether, the findings validate T/F genome inferences and illustrate how T/F sequence identification can illuminate studies of HCV transmission, immunopathogenesis, drug resistance development, and vaccine protection, including sieving effects on breakthrough virus strains.Copyright © 2015 Li et al.

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