Covariation of viral recombination with single nucleotide variants during virus evolution revealed by CoVaMa

Nucleic Acids Res. 2022 Apr 22;50(7):e41. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkab1259.


Adaptation of viruses to their environments occurs through the acquisition of both novel single-nucleotide variants (SNV) and recombination events including insertions, deletions, and duplications. The co-occurrence of SNVs in individual viral genomes during their evolution has been well-described. However, unlike covariation of SNVs, studying the correlation between recombination events with each other or with SNVs has been hampered by their inherent genetic complexity and a lack of bioinformatic tools. Here, we expanded our previously reported CoVaMa pipeline (v0.1) to measure linkage disequilibrium between recombination events and SNVs within both short-read and long-read sequencing datasets. We demonstrate this approach using long-read nanopore sequencing data acquired from Flock House virus (FHV) serially passaged in vitro. We found SNVs that were either correlated or anti-correlated with large genomic deletions generated by nonhomologous recombination that give rise to Defective-RNAs. We also analyzed NGS data from longitudinal HIV samples derived from a patient undergoing antiretroviral therapy who proceeded to virological failure. We found correlations between insertions in the p6Gag and mutations in Gag cleavage sites. This report confirms previous findings and provides insights on novel associations between SNVs and specific recombination events within the viral genome and their role in viral evolution.

MeSH terms

  • DNA Viruses / genetics
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genome, Viral* / genetics
  • Genomics
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing*
  • Humans
  • Recombination, Genetic*