skip to main content


Title: Drivers of within-host genetic diversity in acute infections of viruses
Genetic diversity is the fuel of evolution and facilitates adaptation to novel environments. However, our understanding of what drives differences in the genetic diversity during the early stages of viral infection is somewhat limited. Here, we use ultra-deep sequencing to interrogate 43 clinical samples taken from early infections of the human-infecting viruses HIV, RSV and CMV. Hundreds to thousands of virus templates were sequenced per sample, allowing us to reveal dramatic differences in within-host genetic diversity among virus populations. We found that increased diversity was mostly driven by presence of multiple divergent genotypes in HIV and CMV samples, which we suggest reflect multiple transmitted/founder viruses. Conversely, we detected an abundance of low frequency hyper-edited genomes in RSV samples, presumably reflecting defective virus genomes (DVGs). We suggest that RSV is characterized by higher levels of cellular co-infection, which allow for complementation and hence elevated levels of DVGs.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1655212
NSF-PAR ID:
10283633
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Editor(s):
Lowen, Anice C.
Date Published:
Journal Name:
PLOS Pathogens
Volume:
16
Issue:
11
ISSN:
1553-7374
Page Range / eLocation ID:
e1009029
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Pascual, Mercedes (Ed.)
    To study viral evolutionary processes within patients, mathematical models have been instrumental. Yet, the need for stochastic simulations of minority mutant dynamics can pose computational challenges, especially in heterogeneous systems where very large and very small sub-populations coexist. Here, we describe a hybrid stochastic-deterministic algorithm to simulate mutant evolution in large viral populations, such as acute HIV-1 infection, and further include the multiple infection of cells. We demonstrate that the hybrid method can approximate the fully stochastic dynamics with sufficient accuracy at a fraction of the computational time, and quantify evolutionary end points that cannot be expressed by deterministic models, such as the mutant distribution or the probability of mutant existence at a given infected cell population size. We apply this method to study the role of multiple infection and intracellular interactions among different virus strains (such as complementation and interference) for mutant evolution. Multiple infection is predicted to increase the number of mutants at a given infected cell population size, due to a larger number of infection events. We further find that viral complementation can significantly enhance the spread of disadvantageous mutants, but only in select circumstances: it requires the occurrence of direct cell-to-cell transmission through virological synapses, as well as a substantial fitness disadvantage of the mutant, most likely corresponding to defective virus particles. This, however, likely has strong biological consequences because defective viruses can carry genetic diversity that can be incorporated into functional virus genomes via recombination. Through this mechanism, synaptic transmission in HIV might promote virus evolvability. 
    more » « less
  2. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Recombination has been shown to contribute to human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) evolution in vivo, but the underlying dynamics are extremely complex, depending on the nature of the fitness landscapes and of epistatic interactions. A less well-studied determinant of recombinant evolution is the mode of virus transmission in the cell population. HIV-1 can spread by free virus transmission, resulting largely in singly infected cells, and also by direct cell-to-cell transmission, resulting in the simultaneous infection of cells with multiple viruses. We investigate the contribution of these two transmission pathways to recombinant evolution, by applying mathematical models to in vitro experimental data on the growth of fluorescent reporter viruses under static conditions (where both transmission pathways operate), and under gentle shaking conditions, where cell-to-cell transmission is largely inhibited. The parameterized mathematical models are then used to extrapolate the viral evolutionary dynamics beyond the experimental settings. Assuming a fixed basic reproductive ratio of the virus (independent of transmission pathway), we find that recombinant evolution is fastest if virus spread is driven only by cell-to-cell transmission and slows down if both transmission pathways operate. Recombinant evolution is slowest if all virus spread occurs through free virus transmission. This is due to cell-to-cell transmission 1, increasing infection multiplicity; 2, promoting the co-transmission of different virus strains from cell to cell; and 3, increasing the rate at which point mutations are generated as a result of more reverse transcription events. This study further resulted in the estimation of various parameters that characterize these evolutionary processes. For example, we estimate that during cell-to-cell transmission, an average of three viruses successfully integrated into the target cell, which can significantly raise the infection multiplicity compared to free virus transmission. In general, our study points towards the importance of infection multiplicity and cell-to-cell transmission for HIV evolution. 
    more » « less
  3. Bordenstein, Seth (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Viruses belonging to the Nucleocytoviricota phylum are globally distributed and include members with notably large genomes and complex functional repertoires. Recent studies have shown that these viruses are particularly diverse and abundant in marine systems, but the magnitude of actively replicating Nucleocytoviricota present in ocean habitats remains unclear. In this study, we compiled a curated database of 2,431 Nucleocytoviricota genomes and used it to examine the gene expression of these viruses in a 2.5-day metatranscriptomic time-series from surface waters of the California Current. We identified 145 viral genomes with high levels of gene expression, including 90 Imitervirales and 49 Algavirales viruses. In addition to recovering high expression of core genes involved in information processing that are commonly expressed during viral infection, we also identified transcripts of diverse viral metabolic genes from pathways such as glycolysis, the TCA cycle, and the pentose phosphate pathway, suggesting that virus-mediated reprogramming of central carbon metabolism is common in oceanic surface waters. Surprisingly, we also identified viral transcripts with homology to actin, myosin, and kinesin domains, suggesting that viruses may use these gene products to manipulate host cytoskeletal dynamics during infection. We performed phylogenetic analysis on the virus-encoded myosin and kinesin proteins, which demonstrated that most belong to deep-branching viral clades, but that others appear to have been acquired from eukaryotes more recently. Our results highlight a remarkable diversity of active Nucleocytoviricota in a coastal marine system and underscore the complex functional repertoires expressed by these viruses during infection. IMPORTANCE The discovery of giant viruses has transformed our understanding of viral complexity. Although viruses have traditionally been viewed as filterable infectious agents that lack metabolism, giant viruses can reach sizes rivalling cellular lineages and possess genomes encoding central metabolic processes. Recent studies have shown that giant viruses are widespread in aquatic systems, but the activity of these viruses and the extent to which they reprogram host physiology in situ remains unclear. Here, we show that numerous giant viruses consistently express central metabolic enzymes in a coastal marine system, including components of glycolysis, the TCA cycle, and other pathways involved in nutrient homeostasis. Moreover, we found expression of several viral-encoded actin, myosin, and kinesin genes, indicating viral manipulation of the host cytoskeleton during infection. Our study reveals a high activity of giant viruses in a coastal marine system and indicates they are a diverse and underappreciated component of microbial diversity in the ocean. 
    more » « less
  4. Many chloroviruses replicate in Chlorella variabilis algal strains that are ex-endosymbionts isolated from the protozoan Paramecium bursaria, including the NC64A and Syngen 2-3 strains. We noticed that indigenous water samples produced a higher number of plaque-forming viruses on C. variabilis Syngen 2-3 lawns than on C. variabilis NC64A lawns. These observed differences led to the discovery of viruses that replicate exclusively in Syngen 2-3 cells, named Only Syngen (OSy) viruses. Here, we demonstrate that OSy viruses initiate infection in the restricted host NC64A by synthesizing some early virus gene products and that approximately 20% of the cells produce a small number of empty virus capsids. However, the infected cells did not produce infectious viruses because the cells were unable to replicate the viral genome. This is interesting because all previous attempts to isolate host cells resistant to chlorovirus infection were due to changes in the host receptor for the virus. 
    more » « less
  5. The failure of traditional interventions to block and cure HIV infections has led to novel proposals that involve treating infections with therapeutic viruses–infectious viruses that specifically inhibit HIV propagation in the host. Early efforts in evaluating these proposals have been limited chiefly to mathematical models of dynamics, for lack of suitable empirical systems. Here we propose, develop and analyze an empirical system of a therapeutic virus that protects a host cell population against a lethal virus. The empirical system usesE. colibacteria as the host cell population, an RNA phage as the lethal virus and a filamentous phage as the therapeutic virus. Basic dynamic properties are established for each virus alone and then together. Observed dynamics broadly agree with those predicted by a computer simulation model, although some differences are noted. Two cases of dynamics are contrasted, differing in whether the therapeutic virus is introduced before the lethal virus or after the lethal virus. The therapeutic virus increases in both cases but by different mechanisms. With the therapeutic virus introduced first, it spreads infectiously without any appreciable change in host dynamics. With the therapeutic virus introduced second, host abundance is depressed at the time therapy is applied; following an initial period of therapeutic virus spread by infection, the subsequent rise of protection is through reproduction by hosts already protected. This latter outcome is due to inheritance of the therapeutic virus state when the protected cell divides. Overall, the work establishes the feasibility and robustness to details of a viral interference using a therapeutic virus.

     
    more » « less