Influenza is notable for its evolutionary capacity to escape immunity targeting the viral hemagglutinin. We used deep mutational scanning to examine the extent to which a high inherent mutational tolerance contributes to this antigenic evolvability. We created mutant viruses that incorporate most of the ≈104 amino-acid mutations to hemagglutinin from A/WSN/1933 (H1N1) influenza. After passaging these viruses in tissue culture to select for functional variants, we used deep sequencing to quantify mutation frequencies before and after selection. These data enable us to infer the preference for each amino acid at each site in hemagglutinin. These inferences are consistent with existing knowledge about the protein's structure and function, and can be used to create a model that describes hemagglutinin's evolution far better than existing phylogenetic models. We show that hemagglutinin has a high inherent tolerance for mutations at antigenic sites, suggesting that this is one factor contributing to influenza's antigenic evolution.
- Mercedes Pascual, University of Michigan, United States
© 2014, Thyagarajan & Bloom
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Gene duplication is crucial to generating novel signaling pathways during evolution. However, it remains unclear how the redundant proteins produced by gene duplication ultimately acquire new interaction specificities to establish insulated paralogous signaling pathways. Here, we used ancestral sequence reconstruction to resurrect and characterize a bacterial two-component signaling system that duplicated in α-proteobacteria. We determined the interaction specificities of the signaling proteins that existed before and immediately after this duplication event and then identified key mutations responsible for establishing specificity in the two systems. Just three mutations, in only two of the four interacting proteins, were sufficient to establish specificity of the extant systems. Some of these mutations weakened interactions between paralogous systems to limit crosstalk. However, others strengthened interactions within a system, indicating that the ancestral interaction, although functional, had the potential to be strengthened. Our work suggests that protein-protein interactions with such latent potential may be highly amenable to duplication and divergence.
With the continual evolution of new strains of SARS-CoV-2 that are more virulent, transmissible, and able to evade current vaccines, there is an urgent need for effective anti-viral drugs SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro) is a leading target for drug design due to its conserved and indispensable role in the viral life cycle. Drugs targeting Mpro appear promising but will elicit selection pressure for resistance. To understand resistance potential in Mpro, we performed a comprehensive mutational scan of the protease that analyzed the function of all possible single amino acid changes. We developed three separate high-throughput assays of Mpro function in yeast, based on either the ability of Mpro variants to cleave at a defined cut-site or on the toxicity of their expression to yeast. We used deep sequencing to quantify the functional effects of each variant in each screen. The protein fitness landscapes from all three screens were strongly correlated, indicating that they captured the biophysical properties critical to Mpro function. The fitness landscapes revealed a non-active site location on the surface that is extremely sensitive to mutation making it a favorable location to target with inhibitors. In addition, we found a network of critical amino acids that physically bridge the two active sites of the Mpro dimer. The clinical variants of Mpro were predominantly functional in our screens, indicating that Mpro is under strong selection pressure in the human population. Our results provide predictions of mutations that will be readily accessible to Mpro evolution and that are likely to contribute to drug resistance. This complete mutational guide of Mpro can be used in the design of inhibitors with reduced potential of evolving viral resistance.