A comparative analysis on the synonymous codon usage pattern in viral functional genes and their translational initiation region of ASFV.

Research paper by Jian-Hua JH Zhou, Zong-Liang ZL Gao, Dong-Jie DJ Sun, Yao-Zhong YZ Ding, Jie J Zhang, Laszlo L Stipkovits, Susan S Szathmary, Zygmunt Z Pejsak, Yong-Sheng YS Liu

Indexed on: 20 Nov '12Published on: 20 Nov '12Published in: Virus Genes


The synonymous codon usage pattern of African swine fever virus (ASFV), the similarity degree of the synonymous codon usage between this virus and some organisms and the synonymous codon usage bias for the translation initiation region of viral functional genes in the whole genome of ASFV have been investigated by some simply statistical analyses. Although both GC12% (the GC content at the first and second codon positions) and GC3% (the GC content at the third codon position) of viral functional genes have a large fluctuation, the significant correlations between GC12 and GC3% and between GC3% and the first principal axis of principle component analysis on the relative synonymous codon usage of the viral functional genes imply that mutation pressure of ASFV plays an important role in the synonymous codon usage pattern. Turning to the synonymous codon usage of this virus, the codons with U/A end predominate in the synonymous codon family for the same amino acid and a weak codon usage bias in both leading and lagging strands suggests that strand compositional asymmetry does not take part in the formation of codon usage in ASFV. The interaction between the absolute codon usage bias and GC3% suggests that other selections take part in the formation of codon usage, except for the mutation pressure. It is noted that the similarity degree of codon usage between ASFV and soft tick is higher than that between the virus and the pig, suggesting that the soft tick plays a more important role than the pig in the codon usage pattern of ASFV. The translational initiation region of the viral functional genes generally have a strong tendency to select some synonymous codons with low GC content, suggesting that the synonymous codon usage bias caused by translation selection from the host takes part in modulating the translation initiation efficiency of ASFV functional genes.