Mapping Murine Corneal Neovascularization and Weight Loss Virulence Determinants in the Herpes Simplex Virus 1 Genome and the Detection of an Epistatic Interaction between the UL and IRS/US Regions.

PubMed ID: 27384650

Author(s): Lee K, Kolb AW, Larsen I, Craven M, Brandt CR. Mapping murine corneal neovascularization and weight loss virulence determinants in the Herpes simplex virus 1 genome and the detection of an epistatic interaction between the UL and IRS/US regions. J Virol. 2016 Aug 26;90(18):8115-31. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00821-16. Print 2016 Sep 15. PMID 27384650

Journal: Journal Of Virology, Volume 90, Issue 18, Sep 2016

UNLABELLED Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) most commonly causes recrudescent labial ulcers; however, it is also the leading cause of infectious blindness in developed countries. Previous research in animal models has demonstrated that the severity of HSV-1 ocular disease is influenced by three main factors: host innate immunity, host immune response, and viral strain. We have previously shown that mixed infection with two avirulent HSV-1 strains (OD4 and CJ994) results in recombinants with a wide range of ocular disease phenotype severity. Recently, we developed a quantitative trait locus (QTL)-based computational approach (vQTLmap) to identify viral single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) predicted to influence the severity of the ocular disease phenotypes. We have now applied vQTLmap to identify HSV-1 SNPs associated with corneal neovascularization and mean peak percentage weight loss (MPWL) using 65 HSV-1 OD4-CJ994 recombinants. The vQTLmap analysis using Random Forest for neovascularization identified phenotypically meaningful nonsynonymous SNPs in the ICP4, UL41 (VHS), UL42, UL46 (VP11/12), UL47 (VP13/14), UL48 (VP22), US3, US4 (gG), US6 (gD), and US7 (gI) coding regions. The ICP4 gene was previously identified as a corneal neovascularization determinant, validating the vQTLmap method. Further analysis detected an epistatic interaction for neovascularization between a segment of the unique long (UL) region and a segment of the inverted repeat short (IRS)/unique short (US) region. Ridge regression was used to identify MPWL-associated nonsynonymous SNPs in the UL1 (gL), UL2, UL4, UL49 (VP22), UL50, and ICP4 coding regions. The data provide additional insights into virulence gene and epistatic interaction discovery in HSV-1.

IMPORTANCE Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) typically causes recurrent cold sores; however, it is also the leading source of infectious blindness in developed countries. Corneal neovascularization is critical for the progression of blinding ocular disease, and weight loss is a measure of infection severity. Previous HSV-1 animal virulence studies have shown that the severity of ocular disease is partially due to the viral strain. In the current study, we used a recently described computational quantitative trait locus (QTL) approach in conjunction with 65 HSV-1 recombinants to identify viral single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) involved in neovascularization and weight loss. Neovascularization SNPs were identified in the ICP4, VHS, UL42, VP11/12, VP13/14, VP22, gG, US3, gD, and gI genes. Further analysis revealed an epistatic interaction between the UL and US regions. MPWL-associated SNPs were detected in the UL1 (gL), UL2, UL4, VP22, UL50, and ICP4 genes. This approach will facilitate future HSV virulence studies.

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