Rapid evolution of the env gene leader sequence in cats naturally infected with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)

Beczkowski, P. M., Hughes, J. , Biek, R. , Litster, A., Willett, B. J. and Hosie, M. J. (2015) Rapid evolution of the env gene leader sequence in cats naturally infected with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Journal of General Virology, 96(4), pp. 893-903. (doi: 10.1099/vir.0.000035) (PMID:25535323) (PMCID:PMC4361796)

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Analysing the evolution of FIV on the intra-host level is important, in order to address whether the diversity and composition of viral quasispecies affects disease progression.<p></p> We examined the intra-host diversity and the evolutionary rates of the entire env and structural fragments of the env sequences obtained from sequential blood samples in 43 naturally infected domestic cats that displayed different clinical outcomes. We observed in the majority of cats that FIV env showed very low levels of intra-host diversity. We estimated that env evolved at the rate of 1.16 x 10-3 substitutions per site per year and demonstrated that recombinant sequences evolved faster than non-recombinant sequences. It was evident that the V3-V5 fragment of FIV env displayed higher evolutionary rates in healthy cats than in those with terminal illness. Our study provided the first evidence that the leader sequence of env, rather than the V3-V5 sequence, had the highest intra-host diversity and the highest evolutionary rate of all env fragments, consistent with this region being under a strong selective pressure for genetic variation.<p></p> Overall, FIV env displayed relatively low intra-host diversity and evolved slowly in naturally infected cats. The maximal evolutionary rate was observed in the leader sequence of env. Although genetic stability is not necessarily a prerequisite for clinical stability, the higher genetic stability of FIV compared to HIV might explain why many naturally infected cats do not progress to AIDS rapidly.<p></p>

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hosie, Professor Margaret and Willett, Professor Brian and Beczkowski, Dr Pawel and Biek, Professor Roman and Hughes, Dr Joseph
Authors: Beczkowski, P. M., Hughes, J., Biek, R., Litster, A., Willett, B. J., and Hosie, M. J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection Immunity and Inflammation
Journal Name:Journal of General Virology
Publisher:Society for General Microbiology
ISSN (Online):1465-2099
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal of General Virology 96(4):893-903
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
509331Quasispecies evolution in the progression of FIV infectionMargaret HosieWellcome Trust (WELLCOME)088486/Z/09ZMVLS III - CENTRE FOR VIRUS RESEARCH