The H10N8 virus was isolated from the water of Dongting Lake, China. Mice were infected while showing no obvious symptoms and replication was restricted to the lungs. When the wild-type virus was serially passaged in the lungs of mice, the resulting viruses became lethal and capable of replication in many other organs. This offered an applicable model for the exploration of viral genome gradual mutation during adaptation in mice. The different passage viruses from mice lung lavage were named P1, P3, P5, and P7, respectively. We sequenced the four viruses using next-generation sequencing (NGS) to analyze the dynamics of the H10N8 viral genome, polymorphism, and amino acid mutation of related proteins. We aimed to demonstrate how a mutant strain of low pathogenicity could become lethal to mice. Using Illumina high-throughput data, we detected the gradual mutations of F277S, C278Q, F611S and L653P in the polymerase acidic (PA) protein, and of L207V and E627K in the PB2 protein during adaptation. Interestingly, many amino acid sites mutated quickly; the others did so more slowly and remained in a heterozygous state for several generations. The PA amino acids S277 and Q278 have previously been found in clinical wild-type strains, including the human-H10N8 isolate in 2013. This demonstrates that the wild-type H10N8 virus had mutated to adapt to mammalian hosts. These data provide important reference information for influenza virus research.
Keywords: H10N8 virus; Mouse lung adaption; Next-generation sequencing (NGS).
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