Ribavirin-resistant mutants of human enterovirus 71 express a high replication fidelity phenotype during growth in cell culture

Sara Sadeghipour, Emily J. Bek, Peter C. McMinn

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It has been shown in animal models that ribavirin-resistant poliovirus with a G64S mutation in its 3D polymerase has high replication fidelity coupled with attenuated virulence. Here, we describe the effects of mutagenesis in the human enterovirus 71 (HEV71) 3D polymerase on ribavirin resistance and replication fidelity. Seven substitutions were introduced at amino acid position 3D-G64 of a HEV71 full-length infectious cDNA clone (26M). Viable clone-derived virus populations were rescued from the G64N, G64R, and G64T mutant cDNA clones. The clone-derived G64R and G64T mutant virus populations were resistant to growth inhibition in the presence of 1,600 μMribavirin, whereas the growth of parental 26M and the G64N mutant viruses were inhibited in the presence of 800 μMribavirin. Nucleotide sequencing of the 2C and 3D coding regions revealed that the rate of random mutagenesis after 13 passages in the presence of 400 μMribavirin was nearly 10 times higher in the 26M genome than in the mutant G64R virus genome. Furthermore, random mutations acquired in the 2C coding regions of 26M and G64N conferred resistance to growth inhibition in the presence of 0.5mMguanidine, whereas the G64R and G64T mutant virus populations remained susceptible to growth inhibition by 0.5mMguanidine. Interestingly, a S264L mutation identified in the 3D coding region of 26M after ribavirin selection was also associated with both ribavirin-resistant and high replication fidelity phenotypes. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that the 3D-G64R, 3D-G64T, and 3D-S264L mutations confer resistance upon HEV71 to the antiviral mutagen ribavirin, coupled with a high replication fidelity phenotype during growth in cell culture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1759-1769
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes

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