Low-Bias RNA Sequencing of the HIV-2 Genome from Blood Plasma
James KL., de Silva TI., Brown K., Whittle H., Taylor S., McVean G., Esbjörnsson J., Rowland-Jones SL.
An accurate picture of viral genetic diversity is critical for the development of a globally effective HIV vaccine. However, sequencing strategies are often complicated by target enrichment prior to sequencing, introducing biases that can distort variant frequencies, which are not easily corrected for in downstream analyses. Additionally, detailed a priori sequence knowledge is needed to inform robust primer design when employing PCR amplification, a factor that is often lacking when working with tropical diseases localized in developing countries. Previous work has demonstrated that direct RNA shotgun sequencing (RNA-Seq) can be used to circumvent these issues for hepatitis C virus (HCV) and norovirus. We applied RNA-Seq to total RNA extracted from HIV-2 blood plasma samples, demonstrating the applicability of this technique to HIV-2 and allowing us to generate a dynamic picture of genetic diversity over the whole genome of HIV-2 in the context of low-bias sequencing.