The genetic composition of an H5 subtype hemagglutinin gene quasispecies, obtained from ostrich tissues that had been infected with H5 subtype influenza virus was analysed using a next generation sequencing approach. The first evidence for the reiterative copying of a poly (U) stretch in the connecting peptide region in the haemagglutinin cleavage site (HACS) by the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) is provided. Multiple non-consensus species of RNA were detected in the infected host, corresponding to likely intermediate sequences between the putative low pathogenic precursor nucleotide sequence of the H5 influenza strain and the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus gene sequence. In silico analysis of the identified RNA sequences predicted that the intermediary H5 sequence PQREKRGLF plays an important role in subsequent mutational events that relocate the HACS coding region from stable base-paired RNA regions to a single-stranded bulge, thereby priming the connecting peptide coding region for RdRp slippage.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 30, 2017
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