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Review

RNA Virus Fidelity Mutants: A Useful Tool for Evolutionary Biology or a Complex Challenge?

by 1,† and 2,*,‡
1
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX 77555, USA
2
Department of Pathology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX 77555, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current Address: Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.
Current Address: School of Life Sciences, University of Keele, Keele ST5 5BG, UK.
Viruses 2018, 10(11), 600; https://doi.org/10.3390/v10110600
Received: 9 October 2018 / Revised: 29 October 2018 / Accepted: 31 October 2018 / Published: 1 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Viruses)
RNA viruses replicate with low fidelity due to the error-prone nature of the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, which generates approximately one mutation per round of genome replication. Due to the large population sizes produced by RNA viruses during replication, this results in a cloud of closely related virus variants during host infection, of which small increases or decreases in replication fidelity have been shown to result in virus attenuation in vivo, but not typically in vitro. Since the discovery of the first RNA virus fidelity mutants during the mid-aughts, the field has exploded with the identification of over 50 virus fidelity mutants distributed amongst 7 RNA virus families. This review summarizes the current RNA virus fidelity mutant literature, with a focus upon the definition of a fidelity mutant as well as methods to confirm any mutational changes associated with the fidelity mutant. Due to the complexity of such a definition, in addition to reports of unstable virus fidelity phenotypes, the future translational utility of these mutants and applications for basic science are examined. View Full-Text
Keywords: virus evolution; fidelity; vaccine; quasispecies virus evolution; fidelity; vaccine; quasispecies
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kautz, T.F.; Forrester, N.L. RNA Virus Fidelity Mutants: A Useful Tool for Evolutionary Biology or a Complex Challenge? Viruses 2018, 10, 600. https://doi.org/10.3390/v10110600

AMA Style

Kautz TF, Forrester NL. RNA Virus Fidelity Mutants: A Useful Tool for Evolutionary Biology or a Complex Challenge? Viruses. 2018; 10(11):600. https://doi.org/10.3390/v10110600

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kautz, Tiffany F., and Naomi L. Forrester 2018. "RNA Virus Fidelity Mutants: A Useful Tool for Evolutionary Biology or a Complex Challenge?" Viruses 10, no. 11: 600. https://doi.org/10.3390/v10110600

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