Enteroviruses are well known for their ability to cause neurological damage and paralysis. The model enterovirus is poliovirus (PV), the causative agent of poliomyelitis, a condition characterized by acute flaccid paralysis. A related virus, enterovirus 71 (EV-A71), causes similar clinical outcomes in recurrent outbreaks throughout Asia. Retrospective phylogenetic analysis has shown that recombination between circulating strains of EV-A71 produces the outbreak-associated strains which exhibit increased virulence and/or transmissibility. While studies on the mechanism(s) of recombination in PV are ongoing in several laboratories, little is known about factors that influence recombination in EV-A71. We have developed a cell-based assay to study recombination of EV-A71 based upon previously reported assays for poliovirus recombination. Our results show that (i) EV-A71 strain type and RNA sequence diversity impacts recombination frequency in a predictable manner that mimics the observations found in nature; (ii) recombination is primarily a replicative process mediated by the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase; (iii) a mutation shown to reduce recombination in PV (L420A) similarly reduces EV-A71 recombination, suggesting conservation in mechanism(s); and (iv) sequencing of intraserotypic recombinant genomes indicates that template switching occurs by a mechanism that may require some sequence homology at the recombination junction and that the triggers for template switching may be sequence independent. The development of this recombination assay will permit further investigation on the interplay between replication, recombination and disease.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science