Mar 28, 2020

SARS-CoV-2 and ORF3a: Non-Synonymous Mutations and Polyproline Regions

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
E. IssaSima T Tokajian


The effect of the rapid accumulation of non-synonymous mutations on the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 is not yet known. To predict the impact of non-synonymous mutations and polyproline regions identified in ORF3a on the formation of B-cell epitopes and their role in evading the immune response, nucleotide and protein sequences of 537 available SARS-CoV-2 genomes were analyzed for the presence of non-synonymous mutations and polyproline regions. Mutations were correlated with changes in epitope formation. A total of 19 different non-synonymous amino acids substitutions were detected in ORF3a among 537 SARS-CoV-2 strains. G251V was the most common and identified in 9.9% (n=53) of the strains and was predicted to lead to the loss of a B-cell like epitope in ORF3a. Polyproline regions were detected in two strains (EPI_ISL_410486, France and EPI_ISL_407079, Finland) and affected epitopes formation. The accumulation of non-synonymous mutations and detected polyproline regions in ORF3a of SARS-CoV-2 could be driving the evasion of the host immune response thus favoring viral spread. Rapid mutations accumulating in ORF3a should be closely monitored throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Transcription, Genetic
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Genome Assembly Sequence
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