Mar 25, 2020

Differential alphavirus defective RNA diversity between intracellular and encapsidated compartments is driven by subgenomic recombination events

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
R. M. LangsjoenAndrew Laurence Routh


Alphaviruses are positive-sense RNA arboviruses that can cause either a chronic arthritis or a potentially lethal encephalitis. Like other RNA viruses, alphaviruses produce truncated, defective genomes featuring large deletions during replication. Defective RNAs (D-RNAs) have primarily been isolated from virions after high-multiplicity of infection passaging. Here, we aimed to characterize both intracellular and packaged viral D-RNA populations during early passage infections under the hypothesis that D-RNAs arise de novo intracellularly that may not be packaged and thus have remained undetected. To this end, we generated NGS libraries using RNA derived from passage 1 (P1) stock chikungunya virus (CHIKV) 181/clone 25, intracellular virus, and encapsidated P2 virus and analyzed samples for D-RNA expression, followed by diversity and differential expression analyses. We found that the diversity of D-RNA species is significantly higher for intracellular D-RNA populations than encapsidated and specific populations of D-RNAs are differentially expressed between intracellular and encapsidated compartments. Importantly, these trends were likewise observed in a murine model of CHIKV 15561 infection, as well as in vitro studies using re...Continue Reading

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