Schobel SA, Stucker KM, Moore ML, Anderson LJ, Larkin EK, Shankar J, Bera J, Puri V, Shilts MH, Rosas-Salazar C, Halpin RA, Fedorova N, Shrivastava S, Stockwell TB, Peebles RS, Hartert TV, Das SR

Respiratory Syncytial Virus whole-genome sequencing identifies convergent evolution of sequence duplication in the C-terminus of the G gene.

Scientific reports. 2016-05-23; 6.26311.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is responsible for considerable morbidity and mortality worldwide and is the most important respiratory viral pathogen in infants. Extensive sequence variability within and between RSV group A and B viruses and the ability of multiple clades and sub-clades of RSV to co-circulate are likely mechanisms contributing to the evasion of herd immunity. Surveillance and large-scale whole-genome sequencing of RSV is currently limited but would help identify its evolutionary dynamics and sites of selective immune evasion. In this study, we performed complete-genome next-generation sequencing of 92 RSV isolates from infants in central Tennessee during the 2012-2014 RSV seasons. We identified multiple co-circulating clades of RSV from both the A and B groups. Each clade is defined by signature N- and O-linked glycosylation patterns. Analyses of specific RSV genes revealed high rates of positive selection in the attachment (G) gene. We identified RSV-A viruses in circulation with and without a recently reported 72-nucleotide G gene sequence duplication. Furthermore, we show evidence of convergent evolution of G gene sequence duplication and fixation over time, which suggests a potential fitness advantage of RSV with the G sequence duplication.

PMID: 27212633

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