1887

Abstract

The mutant spectrum of a virus quasispecies in the process of fitness gain of a debilitated foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) clone has been analysed. The mutant spectrum was characterized by nucleotide sequencing of three virus genomic regions (internal ribosome entry site; region between the two AUG initiation codons; VP1-coding region) from 70 biological clones (virus from individual plaques formed on BHK-21 cell monolayers) and 70 molecular clones (RT–PCR products cloned in ). The biological and molecular clones provided statistically indistinguishable definitions of the mutant spectrum with regard to the distribution of mutations among the three genomic regions analysed and with regard to the types of mutations, mutational hot-spots and mutation frequencies. Therefore, the molecular cloning procedure employed provides a simple protocol for the characterization of mutant spectra of viruses that do not grow in cell culture. The number of mutations found repeated among the clones analysed was higher than expected from the mean mutation frequencies. Some components of the mutant spectrum reflected genomes that were dominant in the prior evolutionary history of the virus (previous passages), confirming the presence of memory genomes in virus quasispecies. Other components of the mutant spectrum were genomes that became dominant at a later stage of evolution, suggesting a predictive value of mutant spectrum analysis with regard to the outcome of virus evolution. The results underline the observation that greater insight into evolutionary processes of viruses may be gained from detailed clonal analyses of the mutant swarms at the sequence level.

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2001-05-01
2020-01-26
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