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Title: Evolutionary systems biology of virus-host interactions
Author: Fernandes de Brito, Anderson
ISNI:       0000 0004 9350 5429
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2019
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The evolution of virus-host interactions occurs at multiple levels of biological complexity, such as organismal, genetic, and molecular levels. In the first part of this study, the evolution of associations between herpesviruses (HVs) and theirhosts are examined across more than 400 million years. Recent studies have been demonstrating that cospeciations are not always the main event driving HV evolution, asinterhost speciations and host switches also play important roles. The present study shows that more than topological incongruences, mismatches on divergence times are the main source of disagreements between host and viral phylogenies, which reveals host switches, intrahost speciations and viral losses along the evolution of HVs. Herpesviruses have large genomes encoding dozens of proteins. Apart from amino acid substitutions, these viruses also evolve by acquiring, duplicating and losing protein domains. Although the domain repertoires of HVs differ across species, a core set of domains is shared among all of them. This second part of this study reveals that 28 out 41 core domains encoded by HV ancestors are still found in present-day repertoires, which over time were expanded by domain gains and duplications. Distinct evolutionary strategies led HVs to developed very specific domain repertoires, which may explain their host range and tissue tropism, and provide hints on the origins of herpesviruses. Despite the fact that most mutations in proteins are deleterious, few of them end up improving viral fitness and defining how viruses interact with their hosts. By using an integrative approach, the third part of this study investigates the evolution of protein-protein interactions (PPIs) involving the membrane proteins Nectins, and the herpesviral envelope glycoproteins D/G. By means of ancestral sequence reconstruction and homology modelling, ancestral structures of these protein complexes were generated, and analysis of their interaction energies revealed important differences of binding affinity along their evolution.
Supervisor: Pinney, John Sponsor: CAPES, Brazil
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral