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Isolation and identification of inter-species Enterovirus recombinant genomes

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sheila Waugh



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.Positive-strand RNA virus evolution is partly attributed to the process of recombination. Al-though common between closely genetically related viruses, such as within species of the Enterovirus genus of the Picornaviridae family, inter-species recombination is rarely observed in nature. Recent studies have shown recombination is a ubiquitous process, resulting in a wide range of recombinant genomes and progeny viruses. While not all recombinant genomes yield infectious progeny virus, their existence and continued evolution during replication have critical implications for the evolution of the virus population. In this study, we utilised an in vitro recombination assay to demonstrate inter-species recombination events between viruses from four enterovirus species, A-D. We show that inter-species recombinant genomes are generated in vitro with polymerase template-switching events occurring within the virus polyprotein coding region. However, these genomes did not yield infectious progeny virus. Analysis and attempted recovery of a constructed recombinant cDNA revealed a restriction in positive-strand but not negative-strand RNA synthesis, indicating a significant block in replication. This study demonstrates the propensity for inter-species recombination at the genome level but suggests that significant sequence plasticity would be required in order to overcome blocks in the virus life cycle and allow for the production of infectious viruses.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bentley K, Tee HK, Pearson A, Lowry K, Waugh S, Jones S, Chan YF, Evans DJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Viruses

Year: 2021

Volume: 13

Issue: 12

Print publication date: 01/12/2021

Online publication date: 29/11/2021

Acceptance date: 26/11/2021

Date deposited: 07/01/2022

ISSN (electronic): 1999-4915

Publisher: MDPI


DOI: 10.3390/v13122390


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