This content will become publicly available on April 12, 2023
- Elkins, Christopher A.
- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- Applied and Environmental Microbiology
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has a high mutation rate and many variants have emerged in the last 2 years, including Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma and Omicron. Studies showed that the host-genome similarity (HGS) of SARS-CoV-2 is higher than SARS-CoV and the HGS of open reading frame (ORF) in coronavirus genome is closely related to suppression of innate immunity. Many works have shown that ORF 6 and ORF 8 of SARS-CoV-2 play an important role in suppressing IFN-β signaling pathway in vivo. However, the relation between HGS and the adaption of SARS-CoV-2 variants is still not clear. This work investigates HGS of SARS-CoV-2 variants based on a dataset containing more than 40,000 viral genomes. The relation between HGS of viral ORFs and the suppression of antivirus response is studied. The results show that ORF 7b, ORF 6 and ORF 8 are the top 3 genes with the highest HGS. In the past 2 years, the HGS values of ORF 8 and ORF 7B of SARS-CoV-2 have increased greatly. A remarkable correlation is discovered between HGS and inhibition of antivirus response of immune system, which suggests that the similarity between coronavirus and host gnome may be an indicatormore »
Identifying SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern through Saliva-Based RT-qPCR by Targeting Recurrent Mutation SitesMostafa, Heba H. (Ed.)ABSTRACT SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) continue to pose a public health threat which necessitates a real-time monitoring strategy to complement whole genome sequencing. Thus, we investigated the efficacy of competitive probe RT-qPCR assays for six mutation sites identified in SARS-CoV-2 VOCs and, after validating the assays with synthetic RNA, performed these assays on positive saliva samples. When compared with whole genome sequence results, the SΔ69-70 and ORF1aΔ3675-3677 assays demonstrated 93.60 and 68.00% accuracy, respectively. The SNP assays (K417T, E484K, E484Q, L452R) demonstrated 99.20, 96.40, 99.60, and 96.80% accuracies, respectively. Lastly, we screened 345 positive saliva samples from 7 to 22 December 2021 using Omicron-specific mutation assays and were able to quickly identify rapid spread of Omicron in Upstate South Carolina. Our workflow demonstrates a novel approach for low-cost, real-time population screening of VOCs. IMPORTANCE SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and their many sublineages can be characterized by mutations present within their genetic sequences. These mutations can provide selective advantages such as increased transmissibility and antibody evasion, which influences public health recommendations such as mask mandates, quarantine requirements, and treatment regimens. Our RT-qPCR workflow allows for strain identification of SARS-CoV-2 positive saliva samples by targeting common mutation sites shared between variantsmore »
Despite widespread interest in next-generation sequencing (NGS), the adoption of personalized clinical genomics and mutation profiling of cancer specimens is lagging, in part because of technical limitations. Tumors are genetically heterogeneous and often contain normal/stromal cells, features that lead to low-abundance somatic mutations that generate ambiguous results or reside below NGS detection limits, thus hindering the clinical sensitivity/specificity standards of mutation calling. We applied COLD-PCR (coamplification at lower denaturation temperature PCR), a PCR methodology that selectively enriches variants, to improve the detection of unknown mutations before NGS-based amplicon resequencing.
We used both COLD-PCR and conventional PCR (for comparison) to amplify serially diluted mutation-containing cell-line DNA diluted into wild-type DNA, as well as DNA from lung adenocarcinoma and colorectal cancer samples. After amplification of TP53 (tumor protein p53), KRAS (v-Ki-ras2 Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog), IDH1 [isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (NADP+), soluble], and EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) gene regions, PCR products were pooled for library preparation, bar-coded, and sequenced on the Illumina HiSeq 2000.
In agreement with recent findings, sequencing errors by conventional targeted-amplicon approaches dictated a mutation-detection limit of approximately 1%–2%. Conversely, COLD-PCR amplicons enriched mutations above the error-related noise, enabling reliable identification of mutation abundances of approximatelymore »
As cancer care shifts toward personalized intervention based on each patient's unique genetic abnormalities and tumor genome, we anticipate that COLD-PCR combined with NGS will elucidate the role of mutations in tumor progression, enabling NGS-based analysis of diverse clinical specimens within clinical practice.
Abd El-Aty, A. M. (Ed.)Background Higher viral loads in SARS-CoV-2 infections may be linked to more rapid spread of emerging variants of concern (VOC). Rapid detection and isolation of cases with highest viral loads, even in pre- or asymptomatic individuals, is essential for the mitigation of community outbreaks. Methods and findings In this study, we analyze Ct values from 1297 SARS-CoV-2 positive patient saliva samples collected at the Clemson University testing lab in upstate South Carolina. Samples were identified as positive using RT-qPCR, and clade information was determined via whole genome sequencing at nearby commercial labs. We also obtained patient-reported information on symptoms and exposures at the time of testing. The lowest Ct values were observed among those infected with Delta (median: 22.61, IQR: 16.72–28.51), followed by Alpha (23.93, 18.36–28.49), Gamma (24.74, 18.84–30.64), and the more historic clade 20G (25.21, 20.50–29.916). There was a statistically significant difference in Ct value between Delta and all other clades (all p.adj<0.01), as well as between Alpha and 20G (p.adj<0.05). Additionally, pre- or asymptomatic patients (n = 1093) showed the same statistical differences between Delta and all other clades (all p.adj<0.01); however, symptomatic patients (n = 167) did not show any significant differences between clades. Our weekly testingmore »
Rasmussen, Angela L. (Ed.)ABSTRACT Isothermal nucleic acid amplification tests (iNATs), such as loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP), are good alternatives to PCR-based amplification assays, especially for point-of-care and low-resource use, in part because they can be carried out with relatively simple instrumentation. However, iNATs can often generate spurious amplicons, especially in the absence of target sequences, resulting in false-positive results. This is especially true if signals are based on non-sequence-specific probes, such as intercalating dyes or pH changes. In addition, pathogens often prove to be moving, evolving targets and can accumulate mutations that will lead to inefficient primer binding and thus false-negative results. Multiplex assays targeting different regions of the analyte and logical signal readout using sequence-specific probes can help to reduce both false negatives and false positives. Here, we describe rapid conversion of three previously described SARS-CoV-2 LAMP assays that relied on a non-sequence-specific readout into individual and multiplex one-pot assays that can be visually read using sequence-specific oligonucleotide strand exchange (OSD) probes. We describe both fluorescence-based and Boolean logic-gated colorimetric lateral flow readout methods and demonstrate detection of SARS-CoV-2 virions in crude human saliva. IMPORTANCE One of the key approaches to treatment and control of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, is accuratemore »