Isolation and identification of inter-species Enterovirus recombinant genomes

Kirsten Bentley*, Han Kang Tee, Ashley Pearson, Kym Lowry, Sheila Waugh, Sian Jones, Yoke Fun Chan, David John Evans*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Positive-strand RNA virus evolution is partly attributed to the process of recombination. Although common between closely genetically related viruses, such as within species of the Enterovirus genus of the Picornaviridae family, inter-species recombination is rarely observed in nature. Recent studies have shown recombination is a ubiquitous process resulting in a wide range of recombinant genomes and progeny viruses. While not all recombinant genomes yield infectious virus progeny, their existence and continued evolution during replication has critical implications for evolution of the virus population. In this study we utilised an in vitro recombination assay to demonstrate inter-species recombination events between viruses from four enterovirus species’, A-D. We show that inter-species recombinant genomes are generated in vitro with polymerase template-switching events occurring within the virus polyprotein coding region. However, these genomes did not yield infectious progeny virus. Analysis and attempted recovery of a constructed recombinant cDNA revealed a restriction in positive- but not negative -strand RNA synthesis, indicating a significant block in replication. This study demonstrates the propensity for inter-species recombination at the genome level but suggests that significant sequence plasticity would be required in order to overcome blocks in the virus life cycle and allow for the production of infectious virus.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2390
Number of pages17
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2021


  • Recombination
  • Enterovirus
  • Virus evolution


Dive into the research topics of 'Isolation and identification of inter-species Enterovirus recombinant genomes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this