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Thursday, November 11, 2021

Rescue of codon-pair deoptimized respiratory syncytial virus by the emergence of genomes with very large internal deletions that complemented replication

Recoding viral genomes by introducing numerous synonymous but suboptimal codon pairs—called codon-pair deoptimization (CPD)—provides new types of live-attenuated vaccine candidates. The large number of nucleotide changes resulting from CPD should provide genetic stability to the attenuating phenotype, but this has not been rigorously tested. Human respiratory syncytial virus in which the G and F surface glycoprotein ORFs were CPD (called Min B) was temperature-sensitive and highly restricted in vitro. When subjected to selective pressure by serial passage at increasing temperatures, Min B substantially regained expression of F and replication fitness. Whole-genome deep sequencing showed many point mutations scattered across the…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Genetic stability of genome-scale deoptimized RNA virus vaccine candidates under selective pressure.

Recoding viral genomes by numerous synonymous but suboptimal substitutions provides live attenuated vaccine candidates. These vaccine candidates should have a low risk of deattenuation because of the many changes involved. However, their genetic stability under selective pressure is largely unknown. We evaluated phenotypic reversion of deoptimized human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine candidates in the context of strong selective pressure. Codon pair deoptimized (CPD) versions of RSV were attenuated and temperature-sensitive. During serial passage at progressively increasing temperature, a CPD RSV containing 2,692 synonymous mutations in 9 of 11 ORFs did not lose temperature sensitivity, remained genetically stable, and was…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Spike gene deletion quasispecies in serum of patient with acute MERS-CoV infection.

The spike glycoprotein of the Middle East respiratory coronavirus (MERS-CoV) facilitates receptor binding and cell entry. During investigation of a multi-facility outbreak of MERS-CoV in Taif, Saudi Arabia, we identified a mixed population of wild-type and variant sequences with a large 530 nucleotide deletion in the spike gene from the serum of one patient. The out of frame deletion predicted loss of most of the S2 subunit of the spike protein leaving the S1 subunit with an intact receptor binding domain. This finding documents human infection with a novel genetic variant of MERS-CoV present as a quasispecies. J. Med. Virol.…

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