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Title: Investigations into the dynamics of paramyxovirus infections by high-throughput sequencing
Author: Wignall-Fleming, Elizabeth Bowie
ISNI:       0000 0004 7655 0543
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2019
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The paramyxovirus family can cause a broad spectrum of diseases from mild febrile illnesses to more severe diseases that may require hospitalisation and can in the most serious cases have fatal outcomes. Understanding the virus infection dynamics is fundamental to the development of novel targets for therapeutic and vaccine development. The advancement of High-throughput sequencing (HTS) has revolutionised biomedical research providing unparalleled opportunities to answer complex questions. In this study we developed a workflow using directional analysis of HTS data to gain a unique opportunity to simultaneously analyse the kinetics of virus transcription and replication for PIV5 strain W3, PIV2, MuV and PIV3. The workflow could be used for the study of all negative strand viruses. The developed workflow was used to investigate a number of characteristics of paramyxovirus transcription including quantification of the transcription gradient, RNA editing resulting in the generation of non-templated mRNAs and the production of read-through mRNAs. Interestingly, the processivity of the RNA polymerase during transcription was shown to remain consistent throughout the infection amongst all of the viruses analysed. Additionally, virus replication and the generation of antigenomes were found to occur at early times post infection. This was surprising, as the current model for virus replication requires sufficient levels of NP to be present in the cytoplasm before the virus can enter replicative mode. These results suggest a revision of this model in which the virus produces local sites of virus transcription and replication in the cytoplasm known as foci and it is the level of NP surrounding the virus genomes at these local sites that dictates the virus ability to enter a replicative mode. PIV5 strain W3 was shown to supress virus gene expression at late times post infection resulting in the establishment of a persistent infection. The developed workflow was used to analyse the infection dynamics of PIV5. There were no changes in the RNA polymerase processivity of transcription that could account for the suppression of protein synthesis. A comparative analysis of PIV5 strains W3 and CPI+ identified a mutation of a serine to a phenylalanine at position 157 of the P protein in CPI+, a phosphorylation site that when phosphorylated by polo-like kinase 1 (PLK-1) was previously shown to play a role in the inhibition of virus RNA synthesis, that abolished the virus ability to supress protein synthesis and establish a persistent infection. This indicates that phosphorylation of serine at position 157 is responsible for the inhibition of virus gene expression and the establishment of persistence.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: QR355 Virology