Unraveling the genetic variations underlying virulence disparities among SARS-CoV-2 strains across global regions: insights from Pakistan

Jabeen, Momina and Shoukat, Shifa and Shireen, Huma and Bao, Yiming and Khan, Abbas * and Abbasi, Amir Ali (2024) Unraveling the genetic variations underlying virulence disparities among SARS-CoV-2 strains across global regions: insights from Pakistan. Virology Journal, 21 (1). ISSN 1743-422X

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12985-024-02328-8


Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, several SARS-CoV-2 variants have emerged that may exhibit different etiological effects such as enhanced transmissibility and infectivity. However, genetic variations that reduce virulence and deteriorate viral fitness have not yet been thoroughly investigated. The present study sought to evaluate the effects of viral genetic makeup on COVID-19 epidemiology in Pakistan, where the infectivity and mortality rate was comparatively lower than other countries during the first pandemic wave. For this purpose, we focused on the comparative analyses of 7096 amino-acid long polyprotein pp1ab. Comparative sequence analysis of 203 SARS-CoV-2 genomes, sampled from Pakistan during the first wave of the pandemic revealed 179 amino acid substitutions in pp1ab. Within this set, 38 substitutions were identified within the Nsp3 region of the pp1ab polyprotein. Structural and biophysical analysis of proteins revealed that amino acid variations within Nsp3's macrodomains induced conformational changes and modified protein-ligand interactions, consequently diminishing the virulence and fitness of SARS-CoV-2. Additionally, the epistatic effects resulting from evolutionary substitutions in SARS-CoV-2 proteins may have unnoticed implications for reducing disease burden. In light of these findings, further characterization of such deleterious SARS-CoV-2 mutations will not only aid in identifying potential therapeutic targets but will also provide a roadmap for maintaining vigilance against the genetic variability of diverse SARS-CoV-2 strains circulating globally. Furthermore, these insights empower us to more effectively manage and respond to potential viral-based pandemic outbreaks of a similar nature in the future.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: COVID-19; covide-19; covid 19; macrodomains; Nsp3; SARS-CoV-2; viral fitness; pp1ab polyprotein;
Subjects: Q Science > QR Microbiology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Divisions: Others > Non Sunway Academics
Sunway University > School of Medical and Life Sciences [formerly School of Healthcare and Medical Sciences until 2020]
Depositing User: Ms Yong Yee Chan
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2024 02:46
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2024 02:46
URI: http://eprints.sunway.edu.my/id/eprint/2667

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