Whole-genome sequencing of the Akata and Mutu Epstein-Barr virus strains

J Virol. 2013 Jan;87(2):1172-82. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02517-12. Epub 2012 Nov 14.


Using a simple viral genome enrichment approach, we report the de novo assembly of the Akata and Mutu Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) genomes from a single lane of next-generation sequencing (NGS) reads. The Akata and Mutu viral genomes are type I EBV strains of approximately 171 kb in length. Evidence for genome heterogeneity was found for the Akata but not for the Mutu strain. A comparative analysis of Akata with another four completely sequenced EBV strains, B95-8/Raji, AG876, Mutu, and GD1, demonstrated that the Akata strain is most closely related to the GD1 strain and exhibits the greatest divergence from the type II strain, AG876. A global comparison of latent and lytic gene sequences showed that the four latency genes, EBNA2, EBNA3A, EBNA3B, and EBNA3C, are uniquely defining of type I and type II strain differences. Within type I strains, LMP1, the latency gene, is among the most divergent of all EBV genes, with three insertion or deletion loci in its CTAR2 and CTAR3 signaling domains. Analysis of the BHLF1 and LF3 genes showed that the reading frames identified in the B95-8/Raji genome are not conserved in Akata (or Mutu, for BHLF1), suggesting a primarily non-protein-coding function in EBV's life cycle. The Akata and Mutu viral-genome sequences should be a useful resource for homology-based functional prediction and for molecular studies, such as PCR, RNA-seq, recombineering, and transcriptome studies. As an illustration, we identified novel RNA-editing events in ebv-miR-BART6 antisense transcripts using the Akata and Mutu reference genomes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Cluster Analysis
  • DNA, Viral / chemistry*
  • DNA, Viral / genetics*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genome, Viral*
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / genetics*
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Viral Proteins / genetics


  • DNA, Viral
  • Viral Proteins

Associated data

  • GENBANK/KC207813
  • GENBANK/KC207814