Species Association of Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) in Non-Human Apes; Evidence for Recombination between Gorilla and Chimpanzee Variants

Centre for Immunology, Infection and Evolution, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.23). 03/2012; 7(3):e33430. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0033430
Source: PubMed


Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections are widely distributed in humans, infecting approximately one third of the world's population. HBV variants have also been detected and genetically characterised from Old World apes; Gorilla gorilla (gorilla), Pan troglodytes (chimpanzee), Pongo pygmaeus (orang-utan), Nomascus nastusus and Hylobates pileatus (gibbons) and from the New World monkey, Lagothrix lagotricha (woolly monkey). To investigate species-specificity and potential for cross species transmission of HBV between sympatric species of apes (such as gorillas and chimpanzees in Central Africa) or between humans and chimpanzees or gorillas, variants of HBV infecting captive wild-born non-human primates were genetically characterised. 9 of 62 chimpanzees (11.3%) and two from 11 gorillas (18%) were HBV-infected (15% combined frequency), while other Old world monkey species were negative. Complete genome sequences were obtained from six of the infected chimpanzee and both gorillas; those from P. t .ellioti grouped with previously characterised variants from this subspecies. However, variants recovered from P. t. troglodytes HBV variants also grouped within this clade, indicative of transmission between sub-species, forming a paraphyletic clade. The two gorilla viruses were phylogenetically distinct from chimpanzee and human variants although one showed evidence for a recombination event with a P.t.e.-derived HBV variant in the partial X and core gene region. Both of these observations provide evidence for circulation of HBV between different species and sub-species of non-human primates, a conclusion that differs from the hypothesis if of strict host specificity of HBV genotypes.

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Available from: Cyrille F. Djoko
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    • "Epistasis also poses a potential barrier to the evolutionary success of recombinant genomes (Kouyos, Silander & Bonhoeffer, 2007; Rokyta & Wichman, 2009; Sackman & Rokyta, 2013; Doore & Fane, 2015), and genic incompatibility, such as may be caused by epistasis, can enforce divergence between distinct lineages (Coyne & Orr, 2004). Horizontal gene transfer and recombination occur naturally in a wide array of viruses, including hepatitis E virus (Wang et al., 2010), hepatitis B virus (Lyons et al., 2012), and humam immunodeficiency virus (Motomura, Chen & Hu, 2008; Rigby et al., 2009; Ssemwanga et al., 2011), as well as in microvirid bacteriophages (Rokyta et al., 2006), and these processes may play a large role in microbial evolution and divergence (De la Cruz & Davis, 2000; Rokyta et al., 2006). Botstein (1980) proposed that the genomes of bacteriophages are in large part a mosaic of interchangeable genetic elements that are regularly exchanged through recombination with other bacteriophage genomes of varying degrees of relation, an idea supported by significant evidence from nature (Hendrix et al., 1999; Hendrix, 2002; Hatfull, Cresawn & Hendrix, 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: Horizontal gene transfer and recombination occur across many groups of viruses and play key roles in important viral processes such as host-range expansion and immune-system avoidance. To have any predictive power regarding the ability of viruses to readily recombine, we must determine the extent to which epistasis restricts the success of recombinants, particularly as it relates to the genetic divergence between parental strains. In any hybridization event, the evolutionary success or failure of hybrids is largely determined by the pervasiveness of epistasis in the parental genomes. Recombination has previously been shown to incur steep fitness costs in highly divergent viruses as a result of disrupted epistatic interactions. We used a pair of bacteriophages of the family Microviridae to demonstrate that epistasis may evidence itself in the form of fitness costs even in the case of the exchange of alleles at a locus with amino acid divergence as low as 1%. We explored a possible biophysical source of epistasis in the interaction of viral coat and scaffolding proteins and examined a recovery mutation that likely repairs interactions disrupted by recombination.
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    • "This result has important implications for human health. Evidence of homologous recombination has been detected in a wide array of microbes, including many pathogens linked to human health concerns such as strains of influenza (He et al. 2008, 2012), hepatitis (Wang et al. 2010; Lyons et al. 2012), rabies virus (Liu et al. 2011), dengue (Su et al. 2011), and HIV (Rigby et al. 2009; Motomura et al. 2008; Ssemwanga et al. 2011). Given, the strongly beneficial role that we show recombination can play in molecular evolution, understanding the forces shaping the success or failure of recombinants is critical to any attempt to predict the potential outcomes of hybridization events, and this is especially crucial in the case of microbes globally affecting public health. "
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