Whole genome characterisation and engineering of chimaeric rotavirus–like particles using African rotavirus field strains
Jere, Khuzwayo Chidiwa
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Despite the global licensure of two live-attenuated rotavirus vaccines, Rotarix® and RotaTeq®, rotavirus remains the major cause of severe dehydrating diarrhoea in young mammals and the need for further development of additional rotavirus vaccines, especially vaccines effective against regional strains in developing country settings, is increasing. The design and formulation of new effective multivalent rotavirus vaccines is complicated by the wide rotavirus strain diversity. Novel rotavirus strains emerge periodically due to the propensity of rotaviruses to evolve using mechanisms such as point mutation, genome segment reassortment, genome segment recombination and interspecies transmission. Mutations occurring within the primer binding regions targeted by the current commonly employed sequence-dependent genotyping techniques lead to difficulties in genotyping novel mutant rotavirus strains. Therefore, use of sequence-independent techniques coupled with online rotavirus genotyping tools will help to understand the complete epidemiology of the circulating strains which, in turn, is vital for developing intervention measures such as vaccine and anti-viral therapies. In this study, sequence-independent cDNA synthesis that uses a single set of oligonucleotides that do not require prior sequence knowledge of the rotavirus strains, 454® pyrosequencing, and an online rotavirus genotyping tool, RotaC, were used to swiftly characterise the whole genome of rotaviruses. The robustness of this approach was demonstrated in characterising the complete genetic constellations and evolutionary origin of selected human rotavirus strains that emerged in the past two decades worldwide, human rotavirus strains frequently detected in Africa, and the whole genomes of some common strains frequently detected in bovine species. Most of the characterised strains emerged either through intra- or interspecies genome segment reassortment processes. The methods used in this study also allowed determination of the whole consensus genome sequence of multiple rotavirus variants present in a single stool sample and the elucidation of the evolutionary mechanisms that explained their origin. The 454® pyrosequence-generated data revealed evidence of intergenotype rotavirus genome segment recombination between the genome segments 6 (VP6), 8 (NSP2) and 10 (NSP4) of Wa-like and DS-1-like origin. The use of next generation sequencing technology combined with sequence-independent amplification of the rotavirus genomes allowed the determination of the consensus nucleotide sequence for each of the genome segments of the selected study strains directly from stool sample. The consensus nucleotide sequences of the genome segments encoding VP2, VP4, VP6 and VP7 of some of the study strains were codon optimised for insect cell expression and used to generate recombinant baculoviruses. The Bac-to-Bac baculovirus expression system was used to generate chimaeric rotavirus virus-like particles (RV-VLPs). These chimaeric RV-VLPs contained inner capsids (VP2 and VP6) derived from a South African RVA/Humanwt/ ZAF/GR10924/1999/G9P strain, on to which outer capsid layer proteins composed of various combinations of VP4 and VP7 were assembled. The outer capsid proteins were derived from the dsRNA of G2, G8, G9 or G12 strains associated with either P, P or P genotypes that were directly extracted from human stool faecal specimens. The structures of these chimaeric RV-VLPs were morphologically evaluated using transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Based on the size and morphology of the particles, doublelayered (dRV-VLPs) and triple-layered RV-VLPs (tRV-VLPs) were produced. Recombinant rotavirus proteins readily assembled into dRV-VLPs, whereas approximately 10 – 30% of the assembled RV-VLPs from insect expressed recombinant VP2/6/7/4 were chimaeric tRVVLPs. These RV-VLPs will be evaluated in future animal studies as potential non-live rotavirus vaccine candidates. The novel approach of producing RV-VLPs introduced in this study, namely by using the consensus nucleotide sequence derived from dsRNA extracted directly from clinical specimens, should speed up vaccine research and development by bypassing the need to adapt the viruses to tissue culture and circumventing some other problems associated with cell culture adaptation as well. Thus, it is now possible to generate RV-VLPs for evaluation as non-live vaccine candidates for any human or animal field rotavirus strain.
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Whole genome sequence analyses of three African bovine rotaviruses reveal that they emerged through multiple reassortment events between rotaviruses from different mammalian species Jere, Khuzwayo C.; Mlera, Luwanika; Van Dijk, Alberdina A.; O'Neill, Hester G.; Peenze, Ina (Elsevier, 2012)Animal-to-human interspecies transmission is one of the evolutionary mechanisms driving rotavirus strain diversity in humans. Although quite a few studies emanating from Africa revealed evidence of bovine-to-human rotavirus ...
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Whole genome analysis of multiple rotavirus strains from a single stool specimen using sequence-independent amplification and 454® pyrosequencing reveals evidence of intergenotype genome segment recombination Jere, Khuzwayo C.; Mlera, Luwanika; Van Dijk, Alberdina A.; O'Neill, Hester G.; Page, Nicola A. (Elsevier, 2011)Infection of a single host cell with two or more different rotavirus strains creates conditions favourable for evolutionary mechanisms like reassortment and recombination that can generate novel strains. Despite numerous ...