Rapid selection of P323L in the SARS-CoV-2 polymerase (NSP12) in humans and non-human primate models and confers a large plaque phenotype



Dong, Xiaofeng, Goldswain, Hannah, Penrice-Randal, Rebekah, Shawli, Ghada, Prince, Tessa, Williamson, Maia Kavanagh, Randle, Nadine, Jones, Benjamin, Salguero, Francisco, Tree, Julia
et al (show 17 more authors) (2021) Rapid selection of P323L in the SARS-CoV-2 polymerase (NSP12) in humans and non-human primate models and confers a large plaque phenotype. [Preprint]

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Abstract

The mutational landscape of SARS-CoV-2 varies at both the dominant viral genome sequence and minor genomic variant population. An early change associated with transmissibility was the D614G substitution in the spike protein. This appeared to be accompanied by a P323L substitution in the viral polymerase (NSP12), but this latter change was not under strong selective pressure. Investigation of P323L/D614G changes in the human population showed rapid emergence during the containment phase and early surge phase of wave 1 in the UK. This rapid substitution was from minor genomic variants to become part of the dominant viral genome sequence. A rapid emergence of 323L but not 614G was observed in a non-human primate model of COVID-19 using a starting virus with P323 and D614 in the dominant genome sequence and 323L and 614G in the minor variant population. In cell culture, a recombinant virus with 323L in NSP12 had a larger plaque size than the same recombinant virus with P323. These data suggest that it may be possible to predict the emergence of a new variant based on tracking the distribution and frequency of minor variant genomes at a population level, rather than just focusing on providing information on the dominant viral genome sequence e.g., consensus level reporting. The ability to predict an emerging variant of SARS-CoV-2 in the global landscape may aid in the evaluation of medical countermeasures and non-pharmaceutical interventions.

Item Type: Preprint
Uncontrolled Keywords: ISARIC4C investigators
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection, Veterinary and Ecological Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2022 08:03
Last Modified: 26 May 2022 19:10
DOI: 10.1101/2021.12.23.474030
Open Access URL: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.12.23...
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3149799