Mutational pressure in genomes of human α-herpesviruses

  • V. V. Khrustalev
  • E. V. Barkovsky
Experimental Articles

Abstract

Genomes of herpes simplex viruses (HSV1 and HSV2) possess highly GC-rich DNA (their G + C content is 0.68 and 0.70, respectively). This suggests a strong mutational GC pressure. The genome of varicella zoster virus (VZV) has a GC content of 0.46, which suggests a weak AT pressure. We have calculated the frequencies of nucleotide substitutions directed by mutational pressure for the genes encoding a major capsid protein (MCP) of human α-herpes viruses capable of infecting humans. For HSV1 the substitution frequencies were calculated from the MCP gene of HSV1 (G + C = 0.68, 3 GC = 0.89) to MCP gene of HSV2 (G + C = 0.70, 3 GC = 0.91) and to the homologous gene (G + C = 0.73, 3 GC = 0.99), which is phylogenetically related to HSV, i.e., primate herpes virus 16. In these two pairs of genes, transversions C → G and G → C were the most frequently observed. Less frequent were transitions in the direction of mutation GC pressure (T → C and A → G). Even less frequently, the transversions A → C and T → G were seen. For VZV, the substitution frequencies were calculated from an MCP gene of VZV (G + C = 0.47, 3GC = 0.41) to an MCP gene (G + C = 0.41, 3GC = 0.28) of the primate herpes virus 9 related to VZV. In this pair of genes, the most frequent transitions were seen in the direction of mutation AT pressure (C → T and G → A). The transversion frequencies of A → T and T → A were fairly lower; however, they exceeded the transversion frequencies of C → A and G → T. For the MCP gene of VZV, the probability of transition frequency induced by mutational pressure in the third codon positions (where the majority of transitions are synonymous) was 2.36-fold higher than in the MCP gene of HSV1 and 3-fold higher than in HSV2. These results tend to explain the rarity of recurrent zoster compared to herpes infection.

Keywords

Varicella Zoster Virus Codon Position Mutational Pressure Equine Herpesvirus Varicella Virus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Allerton Press, Inc. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. V. Khrustalev
    • 1
  • E. V. Barkovsky
    • 1
  1. 1.Belarussian State Medical UniversityMinskRussia

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