METHODS: All publicly available ZEBOV sequences (14,098) for each of the nine viral proteins were retrieved, removed of irrelevant and duplicate sequences, and aligned. The overall proteome diversity of the non-redundant sequences was studied by use of Shannon's entropy. The sequences were predicted, by use of the NetCTLpan server, for HLA-A2, -A3, and -B7 supertype-restricted epitopes, which are relevant to African and other ethnicities and provide for large (~86%) population coverage. The predicted epitopes were mapped to the alignment of each protein for analyses of antigenic sequence diversity and relevance to structure and function. The putative epitopes were validated by comparison with experimentally confirmed epitopes.
RESULTS & DISCUSSION: ZEBOV proteome was generally conserved, with an average entropy of 0.16. The 185 HLA supertype-restricted T-cell epitopes predicted (82 (A2), 37 (A3) and 66 (B7)) mapped to 125 alignment positions and covered ~24% of the proteome length. Many of the epitopes showed a propensity to co-localize at select positions of the alignment. Thirty (30) of the mapped positions were completely conserved and may be attractive for vaccine design. The remaining (95) positions had one or more epitopes, with or without non-epitope variants. A significant number (24) of the putative epitopes matched reported experimentally validated HLA ligands/T-cell epitopes of A2, A3 and/or B7 supertype representative allele restrictions. The epitopes generally corresponded to functional motifs/domains and there was no correlation to localization on the protein 3D structure. These data and the epitope map provide important insights into the interaction between EBOV and the host immune system.
METHODS: All reported DENV protein sequence data for each serotype was retrieved from the NCBI Entrez Protein (nr) Database (txid: 12637). The downloaded sequences were then separated according to the individual serotype proteins by use of BLASTp search, and subsequently removed for duplicates and co-aligned across the serotypes. Shannon's entropy and mutual information (MI) analyses, by use of AVANA, were performed to measure the diversity within and between the serotype proteins to identify HCSS nonamers. The sequences were evaluated for the presence of promiscuous T-cell epitopes by use of NetCTLpan 1.1 and NetMHCIIpan 3.2 server for human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I and class II supertypes, respectively. The predicted epitopes were matched to reported epitopes in the Immune Epitope Database.
RESULTS: A total of 2321 nonamers met the HCSS selection criteria of entropy 0.8. Concatenating these resulted in a total of 337 HCSS sequences. DENV4 had the most number of HCSS nonamers; NS5, NS3 and E proteins had among the highest, with none in the C and only one in prM. The HCSS sequences were immune-relevant; 87 HCSS sequences were both reported T-cell epitopes/ligands in human and predicted epitopes, supporting the accuracy of the predictions. A number of the HCSS clustered as immunological hotspots and exhibited putative promiscuity beyond a single HLA supertype. The HCSS sequences represented, on average, ~ 40% of the proteome length for each serotype; more than double of pan-DENV sequences (conserved across the four serotypes), and thus offer a larger choice of sequences for vaccine target selection. HCSS sequences of a given serotype showed significant amino acid difference to all the variants of the other serotypes, supporting the notion of serotype-specificity.
CONCLUSION: This work provides a catalogue of HCSS sequences in the DENV proteome, as candidates for vaccine target selection. The methodology described herein provides a framework for similar application to other pathogens.
Methods: Herein, we report a comprehensive study of the dynamics of H5N1 mutations by analysis of the aligned overlapping nonamer positions (1-9, 2-10, etc.) of more than 13,000 protein sequences of avian and human influenza A (H5N1) viruses, reported over at least 50 years. Entropy calculations were performed on 9,408 overlapping nonamer position of the proteome to study the diversity in the context of immune system. The nonamers represent the predominant length of the binding cores for peptides recognized by the cellular immune system. To further dissect the sequence diversity, each overlapping nonamer position was quantitatively analyzed for four patterns of sequence diversity motifs: index, major, minor and unique.
Results: Almost all of the aligned overlapping nonamer positions of each viral proteome exhibited variants (major, minor, and unique) to the predominant index sequence. Each variant motif displayed a characteristic pattern of incidence change in relation to increased total variants. The major variant exhibited a restrictive pyramidal incidence pattern, with peak incidence at 50% total variants. Post this peak incidence, the minor variants became the predominant motif for majority of the positions. Unique variants, each sequence observed only once, were present at nearly all of the nonamer positions. The diversity motifs (index and variants) demonstrated complex inter-relationships, with motif switching being a common phenomenon. Additionally, 25 highly conserved sequences were identified to be shared across viruses of both hosts, with half conserved to several other influenza A subtypes.
Discussion: The presence of distinct sequences (nonatypes) at nearly all nonamer positions represents a large repertoire of reported viral variants in the proteome, which influence the variability dynamics of the viral population. This work elucidated and provided important insights on the components that make up the viral diversity, delineating inherent patterns in the organization of sequence changes that function in the viral fitness-selection. Additionally, it provides a catalogue of all the mutational changes involved in the dynamics of H5N1 viral diversity for both avian and human host populations. This work provides data relevant for the design of prophylactics and therapeutics that overcome the diversity of the virus, and can aid in the surveillance of existing and future strains of influenza viruses.
RESULTS: This study describes a large-scale, systematic bioinformatics approach for identification and characterization of shared sequences between the host and pathogen. An application of the approach is demonstrated through identification and characterization of the Flaviviridae-human share-ome. A total of 2430 nonamers represented the Flaviviridae-human share-ome with 100% identity. Although the share-ome represented a small fraction of the repertoire of Flaviviridae (~ 0.12%) and human (~ 0.013%) non-redundant nonamers, the 2430 shared nonamers mapped to 16,946 Flaviviridae and 7506 human non-redundant protein sequences. The shared nonamer sequences mapped to 125 species of Flaviviridae, including several with unclassified genus. The majority (~ 68%) of the shared sequences mapped to Hepacivirus C species; West Nile, dengue and Zika viruses of the Flavivirus genus accounted for ~ 11%, ~ 7%, and ~ 3%, respectively, of the Flaviviridae protein sequences (16,946) mapped by the share-ome. Further characterization of the share-ome provided important structural-functional insights to Flaviviridae-human interactions.
CONCLUSION: Mapping of the host-pathogen share-ome has important implications for the design of vaccines and drugs, diagnostics, disease surveillance and the discovery of unknown, potential host-pathogen interactions. The generic workflow presented herein is potentially applicable to a variety of pathogens, such as of viral, bacterial or parasitic origin.