June 1, 2021  |  

An improved circular consensus algorithm with an application to detect HIV-1 Drug Resistance Associated Mutations (DRAMs)

Scientists who require confident resolution of heterogeneous populations across complex regions have been unable to transition to short-read sequencing methods. They continue to depend on Sanger sequencing despite its cost and time inefficiencies. Here we present a new redesigned algorithm that allows the generation of circular consensus sequences (CCS) from individual SMRT Sequencing reads. With this new algorithm, dubbed CCS2, it is possible to reach high quality across longer insert lengths at a lower cost and higher throughput than Sanger sequencing. We applied CCS2 to the characterization of the HIV-1 K103N drug-resistance associated mutation in both clonal and patient samples. This particular DRAM has previously proved to be clinically relevant, but challenging to characterize due to regional sequence context. First, a mutation was introduced into the 3rd position of amino acid position 103 (A>C substitution) of the RT gene on a pNL4-3 backbone by site-directed mutagenesis. Regions spanning ~1.3 kb were PCR amplified from both the non-mutated and mutant (K103N) plasmids, and were sequenced individually and as a 50:50 mixture. Additionally, the proviral reservoir of a subject with known dates of virologic failure of an Efavirenz-based regimen and with documented emergence of drug resistant (K103N) viremia was sequenced at several time points as a proof-of-concept study to determine the kinetics of retention and decay of K103N.Sequencing data were analyzed using the new CCS2 algorithm, which uses a fully-generative probabilistic model of our SMRT Sequencing process to polish consensus sequences to high accuracy. With CCS2, we are able to achieve a per-read empirical quality of QV30 (99.9% accuracy) at 19X coverage. A total of ~5000 1.3 kb consensus sequences with a collective empirical quality of ~QV40 (99.99%) were obtained for each sample. We demonstrate a 0% miscall rate in both unmixed control samples, and estimate a 48:52 frequency for the K103N mutation in the mixed (50:50) plasmid sample, consistent with data produced by orthogonal platforms. Additionally, the K103N escape variant was only detected in proviral samples from time points subsequent (19%) to the emergence of drug resistant viremia. This tool might be used to monitor the HIV reservoir for stable evolutionary changes throughout infection.


April 21, 2020  |  

High-Resolution Evolutionary Analysis of Within-Host Hepatitis C Virus Infection.

Despite recent breakthroughs in treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, we have limited understanding of how virus diversity generated within individuals impacts the evolution and spread of HCV variants at the population scale. Addressing this gap is important for identifying the main sources of disease transmission and evaluating the risk of drug-resistance mutations emerging and disseminating in a population.We have undertaken a high-resolution analysis of HCV within-host evolution from 4 individuals coinfected with human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1). We used long-read, deep-sequenced data of full-length HCV envelope glycoprotein, longitudinally sampled from acute to chronic HCV infection to investigate the underlying viral population and evolutionary dynamics.We found statistical support for population structure maintaining the within-host HCV genetic diversity in 3 out of 4 individuals. We also report the first population genetic estimate of the within-host recombination rate for HCV (0.28 × 10-7 recombination/site/year), which is considerably lower than that estimated for HIV-1 and the overall nucleotide substitution rate estimated during HCV infection.Our findings indicate that population structure and strong genetic linkage shapes within-host HCV evolutionary dynamics. These results will guide the future investigation of potential HCV drug resistance adaptation during infection, and at the population scale. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America.


September 22, 2019  |  

Unexpected invasion of miniature inverted-repeat transposable elements in viral genomes

Transposable elements (TEs) are common and often present with high copy numbers in cellular genomes. Unlike in cellular organisms, TEs were previously thought to be either rare or absent in viruses. Almost all reported TEs display only one or two copies per viral genome. In addition, the discovery of pandoraviruses with genomes up to 2.5-Mb emphasizes the need for biologists to rethink the fundamental nature of the relationship between viruses and cellular life.


July 19, 2019  |  

Emergence of ebola virus escape variants in infected nonhuman primates treated with the MB-003 antibody cocktail.

MB-003, a plant-derived monoclonal antibody cocktail used effectively in treatment of Ebola virus infection in non-human primates, was unable to protect two of six animals when initiated 1 or 2 days post-infection. We characterized a mechanism of viral escape in one of the animals, after observation of two clusters of genomic mutations that resulted in five nonsynonymous mutations in the monoclonal antibody target sites. These mutations were linked to a reduction in antibody binding and later confirmed to be present in a viral isolate that was not neutralized in vitro. Retrospective evaluation of a second independent study allowed the identification of a similar case. Four SNPs in previously identified positions were found in this second fatality, suggesting that genetic drift could be a potential cause for treatment failure. These findings highlight the importance selecting different target domains for each component of the cocktail to minimize the potential for viral escape. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

Quantifying influenza virus diversity and transmission in humans.

Influenza A virus is characterized by high genetic diversity. However, most of what is known about influenza evolution has come from consensus sequences sampled at the epidemiological scale that only represent the dominant virus lineage within each infected host. Less is known about the extent of within-host virus diversity and what proportion of this diversity is transmitted between individuals. To characterize virus variants that achieve sustainable transmission in new hosts, we examined within-host virus genetic diversity in household donor-recipient pairs from the first wave of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic when seasonal H3N2 was co-circulating. Although the same variants were found in multiple members of the community, the relative frequencies of variants fluctuated, with patterns of genetic variation more similar within than between households. We estimated the effective population size of influenza A virus across donor-recipient pairs to be approximately 100-200 contributing members, which enabled the transmission of multiple lineages, including antigenic variants.


July 19, 2019  |  

Towards better precision medicine: PacBio single-molecule long reads resolve the interpretation of HIV drug resistant mutation profiles at explicit quasispecies (haplotype) level.

Development of HIV-1 drug resistance mutations (HDRMs) is one of the major reasons for the clinical failure of antiretroviral therapy. Treatment success rates can be improved by applying personalized anti-HIV regimens based on a patient’s HDRM profile. However, the sensitivity and specificity of the HDRM profile is limited by the methods used for detection. Sanger-based sequencing technology has traditionally been used for determining HDRM profiles at the single nucleotide variant (SNV) level, but with a sensitivity of only = 20% in the HIV population of a patient. Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies offer greater detection sensitivity (~ 1%) and larger scope (hundreds of samples per run). However, NGS technologies produce reads that are too short to enable the detection of the physical linkages of individual SNVs across the haplotype of each HIV strain present. In this article, we demonstrate that the single-molecule long reads generated using the Third Generation Sequencer (TGS), PacBio RS II, along with the appropriate bioinformatics analysis method, can resolve the HDRM profile at a more advanced quasispecies level. The case studies on patients’ HIV samples showed that the quasispecies view produced using the PacBio method offered greater detection sensitivity and was more comprehensive for understanding HDRM situations, which is complement to both Sanger and NGS technologies. In conclusion, the PacBio method, providing a promising new quasispecies level of HDRM profiling, may effect an important change in the field of HIV drug resistance research.


July 19, 2019  |  

Single-molecule sequencing reveals complex genomic variation of hepatitis B virus during 15 years of chronic infection following liver transplantation.

Chronic hepatitis B (CHB) is prevalent worldwide. The infectious agent, hepatitis B virus (HBV) replicates via an RNA intermediate and is error-prone, leading to rapid generation of closely related but not identical viral variants, including those that can escape host immune responses and antiviral treatments. The complexity of CHB can be further enhanced by the presence of HBV variants with large deletions in the genome, generated via splicing (spHBV). Although spHBV variants are incapable of autonomous replication, their replication is rescued by wild-type HBV. SpHBV variants have been shown to enhance wild-type virus replication, and their prevalence increases with liver disease progression. Single-molecule deep sequencing was performed on whole HBV genomes extracted from longitudinal samples of a post-liver transplant CHB subject, collected over a 15-year period that included the liver explant. By employing novel bioinformatics methods, this analysis showed a complex dynamics of the viral population across a period of changing treatment regimens. The spHBV detected in the liver explant remained present post-transplantation, along with emergence of a highly diverse novel spHBV population as well as variants with multiple deletions in the preS genes. The identification of novel mutations outside the HBV reverse transcriptase gene that co-occur with known drug resistant mutations, highlight the relevance of using full genome deep sequencing and support the hypothesis that drug resistance involves interactions across the full-length HBV genome.Single-molecule sequencing allowed characterising, in unprecedented detail, the evolution of HBV populations and offered unique insights into the dynamics of defective and spHBV variants following liver transplantation and complex treatment regimes. This analysis also showed rapid adaptation of HBV populations to treatment regimens with evolving drug resistance phenotypes and evidence of purifying selection across the whole genome. Finally, the new open source bioinformatics tools are freely available, with the capacity to easily identify potential spliced variants from deep sequencing data. Copyright © 2016, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

Rapid sequencing of complete env genes from primary HIV-1 samples

The ability to study rapidly evolving viral populations has been constrained by the read length of next-generation sequencing approaches and the sampling depth of single-genome amplification methods. Here, we develop and characterize a method using Pacific Biosciences Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) sequencing technology to sequence multiple, intact full-length human immunodeficiency virus-1 env genes amplified from viral RNA populations circulating in blood, and provide computational tools for analyzing and visualizing these data.


July 19, 2019  |  

Quasispecies composition and evolution of a typical Zika virus clinical isolate from Suriname.

The arthropod-borne Zika virus (ZIKV) is currently causing a major international public health threat in the Americas. This study describes the isolation of ZIKV from the plasma of a 29-year-old female traveler that developed typical symptoms, like rash, fever and headache upon return from Suriname. The complete genome sequence including the 5′ and 3′ untranslated regions was determined and phylogenetic analysis showed the isolate clustering within the Asian lineage, close to other viruses that have recently been isolated in the Americas. In addition, the viral quasispecies composition was analyzed by single molecule real time sequencing, which suggested a mutation frequency of 1.4?×?10(-4) for this ZIKV isolate. Continued passaging of the virus in cell culture led to the selection of variants with mutations in NS1 and the E protein. The latter might influence virus binding to cell surface heparan sulfate.


July 7, 2019  |  

Estimating fitness of viral quasispecies from next-generation sequencing data.

The quasispecies model is ubiquitous in the study of viruses. While having lead to a number of insights that have stood the test of time, the quasispecies model has mostly been discussed in a theoretical fashion with little support of data. With next-generation sequencing (NGS), this situation is changing and a wealth of data can now be produced in a time- and cost-efficient manner. NGS can, after removal of technical errors, yield an exceedingly detailed picture of the viral population structure. The widespread availability of cross-sectional data can be used to study fitness landscapes of viral populations in the quasispecies model. This chapter highlights methods that estimate the strength of selection in selective sweeps, assesses marginal fitness effects of quasispecies, and finally infers the fitness landscape of a viral quasispecies, all on the basis of NGS data.


July 7, 2019  |  

Long single-molecule reads can resolve the complexity of the influenza virus composed of rare, closely related mutant variants

As a result of a high rate of mutations and recombination events, an RNA-virus exists as a heterogeneous “swarm” of mutant variants. The long read length offered by single-molecule sequencing technologies allows each mutant variant to be sequenced in a single pass. However, high error rate limits the ability to reconstruct heterogeneous viral population composed of rare, related mutant variants. In this paper, we present 2SNV, a method able to tolerate the high error-rate of the single-molecule protocol and reconstruct mutant variants. 2SNV uses linkage between single nucleotide variations to efficiently distinguish them from read errors. To benchmark the sensitivity of 2SNV, we performed a single-molecule sequencing experiment on a sample containing a titrated level of known viral mutant variants. Our method is able to accurately reconstruct clone with frequency of 0.2 % and distinguish clones that differed in only two nucleotides distantly located on the genome. 2SNV outperforms existing methods for full-length viral mutant reconstruction. The open source implementation of 2SNV is freely available for download at http://?alan.?cs.?gsu.?edu/?NGS/???q=?content/?2snv.


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