Surbhi Trivedi Rose Hills
Dengue Virus Intrahost Diversity in Human Infections
The goal of this research project is to investigate the genetic diversity profile of dengue virus populations within each human host. Dengue, like other RNA viruses, can evolve through the accumulation of genetic mutations that arise due to the error-prone nature of the replicase. This virus also undergoes population bottlenecks and genetic recombination that affect the viral diversity profile. During my 2013 SURF-Rose Hills experience, I processed pediatric samples of infected PBMCs (peripheral blood mononuclear cells) and serum (cell-free fluid separated from blood) using high throughput sequencing technology. We are currently investigating hotspots of diversity found within specific genes and domains (namely the envelope and pre-membrane structural genes) and are performing follow-up functional studies in order to survey their effects on predicted protein function and antibody-mediated neutralization of dengue serotype-3. This type of study is important in understanding dengue virus evolution and the host immune system’s detection of dengue virus.