Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

The order of events on Avian coronavirus life cycle shapes the order of quasispecies evolution during host switches

Brandao, Paulo E.; Berg, Mikael; Leite, Beatriz A.; Silva, Sheila O. S.; Taniwaki, Sueli A.


To understand the population genetics events during coronavirus host switches, the Beaudette strain of Avian coronavirus (AvCoV) adapted to BHK-21 cells was passaged 15 times in VERO cells, the virus load and the variants at each passage being determined by RT-qPCR and genome-length deep sequencing. From BHK-21 P2 to VERO P3, a trend for the extinction of variants was followed by stability up to VERO P11 and both the emergence and the rise in frequency in some variants, while the virus loads were stable up to VERO P12. At the spillover from BHK-21 to VERO cells, variants that both emerged, showed a rise in frequency or were extinguished were detected on the spike, while variants at the M gene showed the same pattern only at VERO passage 13. Furthermore, nsps 3-5, 9 and 15 variants were detected at lower passages compared to the consensus sequences, with those at nsp3 being detected in the spectra also at higher passages. This suggests that quasispecies coronavirus evolution in spillovers follows the virus life cycle, starting with the evolution of the receptor binding proteins, followed by the replicase and then proteins involved in virion assembly, keeping the general fitness of the mutant spectrum stable.


Coronavirus; quasispecies; cell culture; spillover

Published in

Genetics and Molecular Biology
2022, volume: 45, number: 2, article number: e20220034

Authors' information

Brandao, Paulo E.
Universidade de Sao Paulo
Leite, Beatriz A.
Universidade de Sao Paulo
Silva, Sheila O. S.
Universidade de Sao Paulo
Taniwaki, Sueli A.
Universidade de Sao Paulo

UKÄ Subject classification

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)