Applying next-generation sequencing to unravel the mutational landscape in viral quasispecies.
- Immune Systems Biology
- Clinical and Applied Virology
Next-generation sequencing (NGS) has revolutionized the scale and depth of biomedical sciences. Because of its unique ability for the detection of sub-clonal variants within genetically diverse populations, NGS has been successfully applied to analyze and quantify the exceptionally-high diversity within viral quasispecies, and many low-frequency drug- or vaccine-resistant mutations of therapeutic importance have been discovered. Although many works have intensively discussed the latest NGS approaches and applications in general, none of them has focused on applying NGS in viral quasispecies studies, mostly due to the limited ability of current NGS technologies to accurately detect and quantify rare viral variants. Here, we summarize several error-correction strategies that have been developed to enhance the detection accuracy of minority variants. We also discuss critical considerations for preparing a sequencing library from viral RNAs and for analyzing NGS data to unravel the mutational landscape.