Dengue virus, a positive-sense single-stranded RNA virus, continuously threatens human health. Although several criteria for evaluation of severe dengue have been recently established, the ability to prognose the risk of severe outcomes for dengue patients remains limited. Mutant spectra of RNA viruses, including single nucleotide variants (SNVs) and defective virus genomes (DVGs), contribute to viral virulence and growth. Here, we determine the potency of intrahost viral population in dengue patients with primary infection that progresses into severe dengue. A total of 65 dengue virus serotype 2 infected patients in primary infection including 17 severe cases were enrolled. We utilized deep sequencing to directly define the frequency of SNVs and detection times of DVGs in sera of dengue patients and analyzed their associations with severe dengue. Among the detected SNVs and DVGs, the frequencies of 9 SNVs and the detection time of 1 DVG exhibited statistically significant differences between patients with dengue fever and those with severe dengue. By utilizing the detected frequencies/times of the selected SNVs/DVG as features, the machine learning model showed high average with a value of area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC, 0.966 ± 0.064). The elevation of the frequency of SNVs at E (nucleotide position 995 and 2216), NS2A (nucleotide position 4105), NS3 (nucleotide position 4536, 4606), and NS5 protein (nucleotide position 7643 and 10067) and the detection times of the selected DVG that had a deletion junction in the E protein region (nucleotide positions of the junction: between 969 and 1022) increased the possibility of dengue patients for severe dengue. In summary, we demonstrated the detected frequencies/times of SNVs/DVG in dengue patients associated with severe disease and successfully utilized them to discriminate severe patients using machine learning algorithm. The identified SNVs and DVGs that are associated with severe dengue will expand our understanding of intrahost viral population in dengue pathogenesis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases