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1.
Viruses ; 14(5)2022 May 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1875813

ABSTRACT

The generation of different types of defective viral genomes (DVG) is an unavoidable consequence of the error-prone replication of RNA viruses. In recent years, a particular class of DVGs, those containing long deletions or genome rearrangements, has gain interest due to their potential therapeutic and biotechnological applications. Identifying such DVGs in high-throughput sequencing (HTS) data has become an interesting computational problem. Several algorithms have been proposed to accomplish this goal, though all incur false positives, a problem of practical interest if such DVGs have to be synthetized and tested in the laboratory. We present a metasearch tool, DVGfinder, that wraps the two most commonly used DVG search algorithms in a single workflow for the identification of the DVGs in HTS data. DVGfinder processes the results of ViReMa-a and DI-tector and uses a gradient boosting classifier machine learning algorithm to reduce the number of false-positive events. The program also generates output files in user-friendly HTML format, which can help users to explore the DVGs identified in the sample. We evaluated the performance of DVGfinder compared to the two search algorithms used separately and found that it slightly improves sensitivities for low-coverage synthetic HTS data and DI-tector precision for high-coverage samples. The metasearch program also showed higher sensitivity on a real sample for which a set of copy-backs were previously validated.


Subject(s)
Defective Viruses , RNA Viruses , Defective Viruses/genetics , Genome, Viral , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , RNA Viruses/genetics , RNA-Seq
2.
Viruses ; 14(4)2022 04 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1792409

ABSTRACT

In RNA viruses, a small increase in their mutation rates can be sufficient to exceed their threshold of viability. Lethal mutagenesis is a therapeutic strategy based on the use of mutagens, driving viral populations to extinction. Extinction catastrophe can be experimentally induced by promutagenic nucleosides in cell culture models. The loss of HIV infectivity has been observed after passage in 5-hydroxydeoxycytidine or 5,6-dihydro-5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine while producing a two-fold increase in the viral mutation frequency. Among approved nucleoside analogs, experiments with polioviruses and other RNA viruses suggested that ribavirin can be mutagenic, although its mechanism of action is not clear. Favipiravir and molnupiravir exert an antiviral effect through lethal mutagenesis. Both drugs are broad-spectrum antiviral agents active against RNA viruses. Favipiravir incorporates into viral RNA, affecting the G→A and C→U transition rates. Molnupiravir (a prodrug of ß-d-N4-hydroxycytidine) has been recently approved for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Its triphosphate derivative can be incorporated into viral RNA and extended by the coronavirus RNA polymerase. Incorrect base pairing and inefficient extension by the polymerase promote mutagenesis by increasing the G→A and C→U transition frequencies. Despite having remarkable antiviral action and resilience to drug resistance, carcinogenic risks and genotoxicity are important concerns limiting their extended use in antiviral therapy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , RNA Viruses , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Humans , Mutagenesis , Mutagens/pharmacology , Nucleosides/pharmacology , RNA Viruses/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2
3.
Microbiome ; 10(1): 60, 2022 04 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1789144

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Wild birds may harbor and transmit viruses that are potentially pathogenic to humans, domestic animals, and other wildlife. RESULTS: Using the viral metagenomic approach, we investigated the virome of cloacal swab specimens collected from 3182 birds (the majority of them wild species) consisting of > 87 different species in 10 different orders within the Aves classes. The virus diversity in wild birds was higher than that in breeding birds. We acquired 707 viral genomes from 18 defined families and 4 unclassified virus groups, with 265 virus genomes sharing < 60% protein sequence identities with their best matches in GenBank comprising new virus families, genera, or species. RNA viruses containing the conserved RdRp domain with no phylogenetic affinity to currently defined virus families existed in different bird species. Genomes of the astrovirus, picornavirus, coronavirus, calicivirus, parvovirus, circovirus, retrovirus, and adenovirus families which include known avian pathogens were fully characterized. Putative cross-species transmissions were observed with viruses in wild birds showing > 95% amino acid sequence identity to previously reported viruses in domestic poultry. Genomic recombination was observed for some genomes showing discordant phylogenies based on structural and non-structural regions. Mapping the next-generation sequencing (NGS) data respectively against the 707 genomes revealed that these viruses showed distribution pattern differences among birds with different habitats (breeding or wild), orders, and sampling sites but no significant differences between birds with different behavioral features (migratory and resident). CONCLUSIONS: The existence of a highly diverse virome highlights the challenges in elucidating the evolution, etiology, and ecology of viruses in wild birds. Video Abstract.


Subject(s)
RNA Viruses , Viruses , Animals , Animals, Wild , Birds , Cloaca , Phylogeny , RNA Viruses/genetics , Virome/genetics , Viruses/genetics
4.
Viruses ; 14(3)2022 03 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1742734

ABSTRACT

Infectious diseases such as the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continue to have a huge impact on global health, and the host-virus interaction remains incompletely understood. To address the global threat, in-depth investigations in pathogenesis are essential for interventions in infectious diseases and vaccine development. Interestingly, aminoacyl-transfer RNA (tRNA) synthetases (aaRSs), an ancient enzyme family that was once considered to play housekeeping roles in protein synthesis, are involved in multiple viral infectious diseases. Many aaRSs in eukaryotes present as the components of a cytoplasmic depot system named the multi-synthetase complex (MSC). Upon viral infections, several components of the MSC are released and exert nonenzymatic activities. Host aaRSs can also be utilized to facilitate viral entry and replication. In addition to their intracellular roles, some aaRSs and aaRS-interacting multi-functional proteins (AIMPs) are secreted as active cytokines or function as "molecule communicators" on the cell surface. The interactions between aaRSs and viruses ultimately affect host innate immune responses or facilitate virus invasion. In this review, we summarized the latest advances of the interactions between aaRSs and RNA viruses, with a particular emphasis on the therapeutic potentials of aaRSs in viral infectious diseases.


Subject(s)
Amino Acyl-tRNA Synthetases , COVID-19 , RNA Viruses , Virus Diseases , Amino Acyl-tRNA Synthetases/genetics , Amino Acyl-tRNA Synthetases/metabolism , Humans , RNA Viruses/genetics , RNA, Transfer/metabolism
5.
PLoS One ; 17(3): e0264855, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1736511

ABSTRACT

Since December 2019 the world has been facing the outbreak of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Identification of infected patients and discrimination from other respiratory infections have so far been accomplished by using highly specific real-time PCRs. Here we present a rapid multiplex approach (RespiCoV), combining highly multiplexed PCRs and MinION sequencing suitable for the simultaneous screening for 41 viral and five bacterial agents related to respiratory tract infections, including the human coronaviruses NL63, HKU1, OC43, 229E, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, SARS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2. RespiCoV was applied to 150 patient samples with suspected SARS-CoV-2 infection and compared with specific real-time PCR. Additionally, several respiratory tract pathogens were identified in samples tested positive or negative for SARS-CoV-2. Finally, RespiCoV was experimentally compared to the commercial RespiFinder 2SMART multiplex screening assay (PathoFinder, The Netherlands).


Subject(s)
Bacteria/genetics , COVID-19/diagnosis , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing/methods , RNA Viruses/genetics , Respiratory Tract Infections/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Bacteria/isolation & purification , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus/isolation & purification , DNA, Bacterial/chemistry , DNA, Bacterial/metabolism , Herpesvirus 1, Human/genetics , Herpesvirus 1, Human/isolation & purification , Humans , Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction , Nanopores , Orthomyxoviridae/genetics , Orthomyxoviridae/isolation & purification , RNA Viruses/isolation & purification , RNA, Viral/chemistry , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Respiratory Tract Infections/microbiology , Respiratory Tract Infections/virology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
7.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 939, 2022 01 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1634211

ABSTRACT

With the advent of highly sensitive real-time PCR, multiple pathogens have been identified from nasopharyngeal swabs of patients with acute respiratory infections (ARIs). However, the detection of microorganisms in the upper respiratory tract does not necessarily indicate disease causation. We conducted a matched case-control study, nested within a broader fever aetiology project, to facilitate determination of the aetiology of ARIs in hospitalised patients in Northeastern Laos. Consenting febrile patients of any age admitted to Xiengkhuang Provincial Hospital were included if they met the inclusion criteria for ARI presentation (at least one of the following: cough, rhinorrhoea, nasal congestion, sore throat, difficulty breathing, and/or abnormal chest auscultation). One healthy control for each patient, matched by sex, age, and village of residence, was recruited for the study. Nasopharyngeal swabs were collected from participants and tested for 33 pathogens by probe-based multiplex real-time RT-PCR (FastTrack Diagnostics Respiratory pathogen 33 kit). Attributable fraction of illness for a given microorganism was calculated by comparing results between patients and controls (= 100 * [OR - 1]/OR) (OR = odds ratio). Between 24th June 2019 and 24th June 2020, 205 consenting ARI patients and 205 matching controls were recruited. After excluding eight pairs due to age mismatch, 197 pairs were included in the analysis. Males were predominant with sex ratio 1.2:1 and children < 5 years old accounted for 59% of participants. At least one potential pathogen was detected in 173 (88%) patients and 175 (89%) controls. ARI in admitted patients were attributed to influenza B virus, influenza A virus, human metapneumovirus (HMPV), and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in 17.8%, 17.2%, 7.5%, and 6.5% of participants, respectively. SARS-CoV-2 was not detected in any cases or controls. Determining ARI aetiology in individual patients remains challenging. Among hospitalised patients with ARI symptoms presenting to a provincial hospital in Northeastern Laos, half were determined to be caused by one of several respiratory viruses, in particular influenza A virus, influenza B virus, HMPV, and RSV.


Subject(s)
Hospitalization , RNA Virus Infections , RNA Viruses/genetics , Respiratory Tract Infections , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , Acute Disease , Adolescent , Adult , Case-Control Studies , Child , Child, Preschool , Female , Humans , Infant , Laos/epidemiology , Male , RNA Virus Infections/diagnosis , RNA Virus Infections/epidemiology , RNA Virus Infections/genetics , Respiratory Tract Infections/diagnosis , Respiratory Tract Infections/epidemiology , Respiratory Tract Infections/genetics , Respiratory Tract Infections/virology , Sex Factors
8.
Nucleic Acids Res ; 49(17): e102, 2021 09 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1594917

ABSTRACT

Rapidly evolving RNA viruses continuously produce minority haplotypes that can become dominant if they are drug-resistant or can better evade the immune system. Therefore, early detection and identification of minority viral haplotypes may help to promptly adjust the patient's treatment plan preventing potential disease complications. Minority haplotypes can be identified using next-generation sequencing, but sequencing noise hinders accurate identification. The elimination of sequencing noise is a non-trivial task that still remains open. Here we propose CliqueSNV based on extracting pairs of statistically linked mutations from noisy reads. This effectively reduces sequencing noise and enables identifying minority haplotypes with the frequency below the sequencing error rate. We comparatively assess the performance of CliqueSNV using an in vitro mixture of nine haplotypes that were derived from the mutation profile of an existing HIV patient. We show that CliqueSNV can accurately assemble viral haplotypes with frequencies as low as 0.1% and maintains consistent performance across short and long bases sequencing platforms.


Subject(s)
Algorithms , Computational Biology/methods , Haplotypes , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing/methods , RNA Virus Infections/diagnosis , RNA Viruses/genetics , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/virology , Gene Frequency , HIV Infections/diagnosis , HIV Infections/virology , HIV-1/genetics , Humans , Mutation , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide , RNA Virus Infections/virology , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sensitivity and Specificity
9.
Viruses ; 13(12)2021 12 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1572668

ABSTRACT

Broad-spectrum antiviral therapies hold promise as a first-line defense against emerging viruses by blunting illness severity and spread until vaccines and virus-specific antivirals are developed. The nucleobase favipiravir, often discussed as a broad-spectrum inhibitor, was not effective in recent clinical trials involving patients infected with Ebola virus or SARS-CoV-2. A drawback of favipiravir use is its rapid clearance before conversion to its active nucleoside-5'-triphosphate form. In this work, we report a synergistic reduction of flavivirus (dengue, Zika), orthomyxovirus (influenza A), and coronavirus (HCoV-OC43 and SARS-CoV-2) replication when the nucleobases favipiravir or T-1105 were combined with the antimetabolite 6-methylmercaptopurine riboside (6MMPr). The 6MMPr/T-1105 combination increased the C-U and G-A mutation frequency compared to treatment with T-1105 or 6MMPr alone. A further analysis revealed that the 6MMPr/T-1105 co-treatment reduced cellular purine nucleotide triphosphate synthesis and increased conversion of the antiviral nucleobase to its nucleoside-5'-monophosphate, -diphosphate, and -triphosphate forms. The 6MMPr co-treatment specifically increased production of the active antiviral form of the nucleobases (but not corresponding nucleosides) while also reducing levels of competing cellular NTPs to produce the synergistic effect. This in-depth work establishes a foundation for development of small molecules as possible co-treatments with nucleobases like favipiravir in response to emerging RNA virus infections.


Subject(s)
Antimetabolites/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , RNA Viruses/drug effects , Adenosine Triphosphate/metabolism , Amides/pharmacology , Animals , Cell Line , Drug Synergism , Guanosine Triphosphate/metabolism , Humans , Methylthioinosine/pharmacology , Mutation/drug effects , Phosphoribosyl Pyrophosphate/metabolism , Pyrazines/pharmacology , RNA Viruses/classification , RNA Viruses/genetics , RNA, Viral/drug effects , RNA, Viral/genetics , Virus Replication/drug effects
10.
Mol Aspects Med ; 81: 101005, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1562128

ABSTRACT

Viruses with positive-sense single stranded RNA (+ssRNA) genomes are responsible for different diseases and represent a global health problem. In addition to developing new vaccines that protect against severe illness on infection, it is imperative to identify new antiviral molecules to treat infected patients. The genome of these RNA viruses generally codes for an enzyme with RNA dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP) activity. This molecule is centrally involved in the duplication of the RNA genome. Inhibition of this enzyme by small molecules will prevent duplication of the RNA genome and thus reduce the viral titer. An overview of the different therapeutic strategies used to inhibit RdRPs from +ssRNA viruses is provided, along with an analysis of these enzymes to highlight new binding sites for inhibitors.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents , RNA Viruses , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Humans , RNA Viruses/drug effects , RNA Viruses/genetics , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/antagonists & inhibitors , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics
11.
Viruses ; 13(11)2021 10 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1538535

ABSTRACT

Our understanding of RNA structure has lagged behind that of proteins and most other biological polymers, largely because of its ability to adopt multiple, and often very different, functional conformations within a single molecule. Flexibility and multifunctionality appear to be its hallmarks. Conventional biochemical and biophysical techniques all have limitations in solving RNA structure and to address this in recent years we have seen the emergence of a wide diversity of techniques applied to RNA structural analysis and an accompanying appreciation of its ubiquity and versatility. Viral RNA is a particularly productive area to study in that this economy of function within a single molecule admirably suits the minimalist lifestyle of viruses. Here, we review the major techniques that are being used to elucidate RNA conformational flexibility and exemplify how the structure and function are, as in all biology, tightly linked.


Subject(s)
RNA Viruses/chemistry , RNA, Viral/chemistry , Nucleic Acid Conformation , RNA Viruses/genetics , RNA Viruses/metabolism , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/metabolism
12.
Viruses ; 13(11)2021 10 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1526862

ABSTRACT

Despite a surge of RNA virome sequencing in recent years, there are still many RNA viruses to uncover-as indicated by the relevance of viral dark matter to RNA virome studies (i.e., putative viruses that do not match to taxonomically identified viruses). This study explores a unique site, a high-rate algal pond (HRAP), for culturing industrially microalgae, to elucidate new RNA viruses. The importance of viral-host interactions in aquatic systems are well documented, and the ever-expanding microalgae industry is no exception. As the industry becomes a more important source of sustainable plastic manufacturing, a producer of cosmetic pigments and alternative protein sources, and a means of CO2 remediation in the face of climate change, studying microalgal viruses becomes a vital practice for proactive management of microalgae cultures at the industrial level. This study provides evidence of RNA microalgal viruses persisting in a CO2 remediation pilot project HRAP and uncovers the diversity of the RNA virosphere contained within it. Evidence shows that family Marnaviridae is cultured in the basin, alongside other potential microalgal infecting viruses (e.g., family Narnaviridae, family Totitiviridae, and family Yueviridae). Finally, we demonstrate that the RNA viral diversity of the HRAP is temporally dynamic across two successive culturing seasons.


Subject(s)
Microalgae/virology , Phylogeny , Ponds , RNA Viruses/classification , Water Microbiology , Animals , Biodiversity , Biomass , Metagenome , Pilot Projects , RNA Viruses/genetics , Rotifera/virology , Seasons , Water
13.
J Virol ; 95(21): e0059721, 2021 10 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1483991

ABSTRACT

Frankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips [WFT]) and Thrips tabaci (onion thrips [OT]) are insect species that greatly impact horticultural crops through direct damage and their efficient vectoring of tomato spotted wilt virus and iris yellow spot virus. In this study, we collected thrips of these species from 12 field populations in various regions in Italy. We also included one field population of Neohydatothrips variabilis (soybean thrips [ST]) from the United States. Total RNA data from high-throughput sequencing (HTS) were used to assemble the virome, and then we assigned putative viral contigs to each thrips sample by real-time reverse transcription-quantitative PCR (qRT-PCR). Excluding plant and fungal viruses, we were able to identify 61 viral segments, corresponding to 41 viruses: 14 were assigned to WFT, 17 to OT, and 1 to ST; 9 viruses could not be assigned to any species based on our stringent criteria. All these viruses are putative representative of new species (with only the exception of a sobemo-like virus that is 100% identical to a virus recently characterized in ST) and some belong to new higher-ranking taxa. These additions to the viral phylogeny suggest previously undescribed evolutionary niches. Most of Baltimore's classes of RNA viruses were present (positive- and minus-strand and double-stranded RNA viruses), but only one DNA virus was identified in our collection. Repeated sampling in a subset of locations in 2019 and 2020 and further virus characterization in a subset of four thrips populations maintained in the laboratory allowed us to provide evidence of a locally persistent thrips core virome that characterizes each population. IMPORTANCE Harnessing the insect microbiome can result in new approaches to contain their populations or the damage they cause vectoring viruses of medical, veterinary, or agricultural importance. Persistent insect viruses are a neglected component of their microbiota. In this study, for the first time, we characterize the virome associated with the two model systems for tospovirus-transmitting thrips species, of utmost importance for the direct and indirect damage they cause to a number of different crops. The thrips virome characterized includes several novel viruses, which in some cases reveal previously undescribed clades. More importantly, some of the viruses we describe are part of a core virome that is specific and consistently present in distinct geographical locations monitored over the years, hinting at a possible mutualistic symbiotic relationship with their host.


Subject(s)
Insect Vectors/virology , Thysanoptera/virology , Tospovirus/classification , Tospovirus/genetics , Virome , Animals , Computational Biology/methods , Genome, Viral , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , Phylogeny , Plant Diseases/virology , RNA Viruses/classification , RNA Viruses/genetics , RNA, Viral , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , Species Specificity
14.
Genome Biol Evol ; 13(11)2021 11 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1483441

ABSTRACT

Adenosine Deaminases that Act on RNA (ADARs) are RNA editing enzymes that play a dynamic and nuanced role in regulating transcriptome and proteome diversity. This editing can be highly selective, affecting a specific site within a transcript, or nonselective, resulting in hyperediting. ADAR editing is important for regulating neural functions and autoimmunity, and has a key role in the innate immune response to viral infections, where editing can have a range of pro- or antiviral effects and can contribute to viral evolution. Here we examine the role of ADAR editing across a broad range of viral groups. We propose that the effect of ADAR editing on viral replication, whether pro- or antiviral, is better viewed as an axis rather than a binary, and that the specific position of a given virus on this axis is highly dependent on virus- and host-specific factors, and can change over the course of infection. However, more research needs to be devoted to understanding these dynamic factors and how they affect virus-ADAR interactions and viral evolution. Another area that warrants significant attention is the effect of virus-ADAR interactions on host-ADAR interactions, particularly in light of the crucial role of ADAR in regulating neural functions. Answering these questions will be essential to developing our understanding of the relationship between ADAR editing and viral infection. In turn, this will further our understanding of the effects of viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, as well as many others, and thereby influence our approach to treating these deadly diseases.


Subject(s)
Adenosine Deaminase/metabolism , RNA Editing , RNA Viruses/genetics , Adenosine Deaminase/genetics , Animals , Evolution, Molecular , Host-Pathogen Interactions/immunology , Humans , Immunity , RNA Viruses/classification , RNA Viruses/physiology , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Virus Replication/genetics
15.
Mol Cell ; 81(21): 4467-4480.e7, 2021 11 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1473419

ABSTRACT

Viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RdRps) are a target for broad-spectrum antiviral therapeutic agents. Recently, we demonstrated that incorporation of the T-1106 triphosphate, a pyrazine-carboxamide ribonucleotide, into nascent RNA increases pausing and backtracking by the poliovirus RdRp. Here, by monitoring enterovirus A-71 RdRp dynamics during RNA synthesis using magnetic tweezers, we identify the "backtracked" state as an intermediate used by the RdRp for copy-back RNA synthesis and homologous recombination. Cell-based assays and RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) experiments further demonstrate that the pyrazine-carboxamide ribonucleotide stimulates these processes during infection. These results suggest that pyrazine-carboxamide ribonucleotides do not induce lethal mutagenesis or chain termination but function by promoting template switching and formation of defective viral genomes. We conclude that RdRp-catalyzed intra- and intermolecular template switching can be induced by pyrazine-carboxamide ribonucleotides, defining an additional mechanistic class of antiviral ribonucleotides with potential for broad-spectrum activity.


Subject(s)
Pyrazines/chemistry , RNA Viruses/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Recombination, Genetic , Ribonucleotides/chemistry , Animals , Antiviral Agents , Catalysis , Cells, Cultured , Genetic Techniques , Genome , Genome, Viral , Homologous Recombination , Humans , Kinetics , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Mutagenesis , Nucleotides/genetics , Protein Conformation , RNA/chemistry , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , RNA-Seq , Transgenes , Virulence
16.
Appl Environ Microbiol ; 87(23): e0144821, 2021 11 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1434881

ABSTRACT

Municipal wastewater provides an integrated sample of a diversity of human-associated microbes across a sewershed, including viruses. Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) is a promising strategy to detect pathogens and may serve as an early warning system for disease outbreaks. Notably, WBE has garnered substantial interest during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic to track disease burden through analyses of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNA. Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, tracking SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater has been an important tool for understanding the spread of the virus. Unlike traditional sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 isolated from clinical samples, which adds testing burden to the health care system, in this study, metatranscriptomics was used to sequence virus directly from wastewater. Here, we present a study in which we explored RNA viral diversity through sequencing 94 wastewater influent samples across seven wastewater treatment plants (WTPs), collected from August 2020 to January 2021, representing approximately 16 million people in Southern California. Enriched viral libraries identified a wide diversity of RNA viruses that differed between WTPs and over time, with detected viruses including coronaviruses, influenza A, and noroviruses. Furthermore, single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) of SARS-CoV-2 were identified in wastewater, and we measured proportions of overall virus and SNVs across several months. We detected several SNVs that are markers for clinically important SARS-CoV-2 variants along with SNVs of unknown function, prevalence, or epidemiological consequence. Our study shows the potential of WBE to detect viruses in wastewater and to track the diversity and spread of viral variants in urban and suburban locations, which may aid public health efforts to monitor disease outbreaks. IMPORTANCE Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) can detect pathogens across sewersheds, which represents the collective waste of human populations. As there is a wide diversity of RNA viruses in wastewater, monitoring the presence of these viruses is useful for public health, industry, and ecological studies. Specific to public health, WBE has proven valuable during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic to track the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) without adding burden to health care systems. In this study, we used metatranscriptomics and reverse transcription-droplet digital PCR (RT-ddPCR) to assay RNA viruses across Southern California wastewater from August 2020 to January 2021, representing approximately 16 million people from Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties. We found that SARS-CoV-2 quantification in wastewater correlates well with county-wide COVID-19 case data, and that we can detect SARS-CoV-2 single-nucleotide variants through sequencing. Likewise, wastewater treatment plants (WTPs) harbored different viromes, and we detected other human pathogens, such as noroviruses and adenoviruses, furthering our understanding of wastewater viral ecology.


Subject(s)
RNA Viruses/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Virome , Waste Water/virology , Wastewater-Based Epidemiological Monitoring , COVID-19/epidemiology , California , Gene Expression Profiling , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , Humans , Polymerase Chain Reaction , RNA Viruses/classification , RNA Viruses/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sequence Analysis, RNA
17.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(39)2021 09 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1428995

ABSTRACT

Bats are responsible for the zoonotic transmission of several major viral diseases, including those leading to the 2003 SARS outbreak and likely the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While comparative genomics studies have revealed characteristic adaptations of the bat innate immune system, functional genomic studies are urgently needed to provide a foundation for the molecular dissection of the viral tolerance in bats. Here we report the establishment of genome-wide RNA interference (RNAi) and CRISPR libraries for the screening of the model megabat, Pteropus alecto. We used the complementary RNAi and CRISPR libraries to interrogate P. alecto cells for infection with two different viruses: mumps virus and influenza A virus, respectively. Independent screening results converged on the endocytosis pathway and the protein secretory pathway as required for both viral infections. Additionally, we revealed a general dependence of the C1-tetrahydrofolate synthase gene, MTHFD1, for viral replication in bat cells and human cells. The MTHFD1 inhibitor, carolacton, potently blocked replication of several RNA viruses, including SARS-CoV-2. We also discovered that bats have lower expression levels of MTHFD1 than humans. Our studies provide a resource for systematic inquiry into the genetic underpinnings of bat biology and a potential target for developing broad-spectrum antiviral therapy.


Subject(s)
Aminohydrolases/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , Formate-Tetrahydrofolate Ligase/genetics , Methylenetetrahydrofolate Dehydrogenase (NADP)/genetics , Multienzyme Complexes/genetics , Pandemics , Aminohydrolases/antagonists & inhibitors , Animals , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Chiroptera/genetics , Chiroptera/virology , Formate-Tetrahydrofolate Ligase/antagonists & inhibitors , Humans , Methylenetetrahydrofolate Dehydrogenase (NADP)/antagonists & inhibitors , Minor Histocompatibility Antigens , Multienzyme Complexes/antagonists & inhibitors , RNA Viruses/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Virus Replication/genetics
18.
Viruses ; 13(9)2021 09 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1427003

ABSTRACT

The error rate displayed during template copying to produce viral RNA progeny is a biologically relevant parameter of the replication complexes of viruses. It has consequences for virus-host interactions, and it represents the first step in the diversification of viruses in nature. Measurements during infections and with purified viral polymerases indicate that mutation rates for RNA viruses are in the range of 10-3 to 10-6 copying errors per nucleotide incorporated into the nascent RNA product. Although viruses are thought to exploit high error rates for adaptation to changing environments, some of them possess misincorporation correcting activities. One of them is a proofreading-repair 3' to 5' exonuclease present in coronaviruses that may decrease the error rate during replication. Here we review experimental evidence and models of information maintenance that explain why elevated mutation rates have been preserved during the evolution of RNA (and some DNA) viruses. The models also offer an interpretation of why error correction mechanisms have evolved to maintain the stability of genetic information carried out by large viral RNA genomes such as the coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
Genome, Viral , Mutation , RNA Virus Infections/virology , RNA Viruses/genetics , RNA, Viral , Animals , Biological Evolution , Coronavirus/genetics , Exonucleases/metabolism , Genetic Variation , Humans , Mutation Rate , Virus Replication
19.
Viruses ; 12(6)2020 05 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389514

ABSTRACT

Single-stranded positive RNA ((+) ssRNA) viruses include several important human pathogens. Some members are responsible for large outbreaks, such as Zika virus, West Nile virus, SARS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2, while others are endemic, causing an enormous global health burden. Since vaccines or specific treatments are not available for most viral infections, the discovery of direct-acting antivirals (DAA) is an urgent need. Still, the low-throughput nature of and biosafety concerns related to traditional antiviral assays hinders the discovery of new inhibitors. With the advances of reverse genetics, reporter replicon systems have become an alternative tool for the screening of DAAs. Herein, we review decades of the use of (+) ssRNA viruses replicon systems for the discovery of antiviral agents. We summarize different strategies used to develop those systems, as well as highlight some of the most promising inhibitors identified by the method. Despite the genetic alterations introduced, reporter replicons have been shown to be reliable systems for screening and identification of viral replication inhibitors and, therefore, an important tool for the discovery of new DAAs.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Drug Discovery/methods , Genes, Reporter/physiology , RNA Viruses/drug effects , Replicon/physiology , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cricetinae , Humans , RNA Viruses/genetics , Transfection , Vero Cells
20.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 15997, 2021 08 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1345579

ABSTRACT

Simple tests of infectiousness that return results in minutes and directly from samples even with low viral loads could be a potential game-changer in the fight against COVID-19. Here, we describe an improved isothermal nucleic acid amplification assay, termed the RICCA (RNA Isothermal Co-assisted and Coupled Amplification) reaction, that consists of a simple one-pot format of 'sample-in and result-out' with a primary focus on the detection of low copy numbers of RNA virus directly from saliva without the need for laboratory processing. We demonstrate our assay by detecting 16S rRNA directly from E. coli cells with a sensitivity as low as 8 CFU/µL and RNA fragments from a synthetic template of SARS-CoV-2 with a sensitivity as low as 1740 copies/µL. We further demonstrate the applicability of our assay for real-time testing at the point of care by designing a closed format for paper-based lateral flow assay and detecting heat-inactivated SARS-COV-2 virus in human saliva at concentrations ranging from 28,000 to 2.8 copies/µL with a total assay time of 15-30 min.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques/methods , Point-of-Care Systems , RNA Viruses/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/instrumentation , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , Equipment Design , Humans , Limit of Detection , Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques/instrumentation , RNA Viruses/isolation & purification , RNA, Viral/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Saliva/virology
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