Quasispecies Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 of 15 Different Lineages during the First Year of the Pandemic Prompts Scratching under the Surface of Consensus Genome Sequences - Aix-Marseille Université Access content directly
Journal Articles International Journal of Molecular Sciences Year : 2022

Quasispecies Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 of 15 Different Lineages during the First Year of the Pandemic Prompts Scratching under the Surface of Consensus Genome Sequences

Abstract

The tremendous majority of SARS-CoV-2 genomic data so far neglected intra-host genetic diversity. Here, we studied SARS-CoV-2 quasispecies based on data generated by next-generation sequencing (NGS) of complete genomes. SARS-CoV-2 raw NGS data had been generated for nasopharyngeal samples collected between March 2020 and February 2021 by the Illumina technology on a MiSeq instrument, without prior PCR amplification. To analyze viral quasispecies, we designed and implemented an in-house Excel file (“QuasiS”) that can characterize intra-sample nucleotide diversity along the genomes using data of the mapping of NGS reads. We compared intra-sample genetic diversity and global genetic diversity available from Nextstrain. Hierarchical clustering of all samples based on the intra-sample genetic diversity was performed and visualized with the Morpheus web application. NGS mapping data from 110 SARS-CoV-2-positive respiratory samples characterized by a mean depth of 169 NGS reads/nucleotide position and for which consensus genomes that had been obtained were classified into 15 viral lineages were analyzed. Mean intra-sample nucleotide diversity was 0.21 ± 0.65%, and 5357 positions (17.9%) exhibited significant (>4%) diversity, in ≥2 genomes for 1730 (5.8%) of them. ORF10, spike, and N genes had the highest number of positions exhibiting diversity (0.56%, 0.34%, and 0.24%, respectively). Nine hot spots of intra-sample diversity were identified in the SARS-CoV-2 NSP6, NSP12, ORF8, and N genes. Hierarchical clustering delineated a set of six genomes of different lineages characterized by 920 positions exhibiting intra-sample diversity. In addition, 118 nucleotide positions (0.4%) exhibited diversity at both intra- and inter-patient levels. Overall, the present study illustrates that the SARS-CoV-2 consensus genome sequences are only an incomplete and imperfect representation of the entire viral population infecting a patient, and that quasispecies analysis may allow deciphering more accurately the viral evolutionary pathways.
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hal-03959830 , version 1 (15-06-2023)

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Wahiba Bader, Jeremy Delerce, Sarah Aherfi, Bernard La Scola, Philippe Colson. Quasispecies Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 of 15 Different Lineages during the First Year of the Pandemic Prompts Scratching under the Surface of Consensus Genome Sequences. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 2022, 23 (24), pp.15658. ⟨10.3390/ijms232415658⟩. ⟨hal-03959830⟩
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