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Shipley, Rathbun and Szpara publish paper on isolating herpes simplex virus from clinical specimens
23 October 2019

A new paper by Mackenzie Shipley and Molly Rathbun, both graduate students in the Biochemistry, Microbiology and Molecular Biology (BMMB) program, and Moriah Szpara, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State, has been published online and will appear in Springer’s Herpes Simplex Virus book as part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series. The paper, titled “Oligonucleotide Enrichment of HSV-1 Genomic DNA from Clinical Specimens for Use in High-Throughput Sequencing“, describes a new method for isolating the herpes simplex virus directly from clinical specimens. The paper’s scientific abstract appears below:

"To date more than 400 genomes of herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) and the distantly related HSV-2 have been examined using deep sequencing techniques. This powerful approach has been especially useful for revealing the global genetic diversity that exists within and between strains of each virus species. However, most early methods for high-throughput sequencing required the input of abundant viral genomic DNA to enable the successful production of sequencing libraries, and the generation of sufficient short-read sequencing data for de novo genome assembly and similar applications. Therefore, the majority of sequenced HSV strains have been cultured and expanded in vitro prior to genomic analysis, to facilitate isolation of sufficient viral DNA for sequencing-library preparation. Here, we describe an in-solution targeted enrichment procedure for isolating, enriching, and sequencing HSV genomic DNA directly from clinical specimens. When this enrichment technique is combined with traditional sequencing-library preparation procedures, the need for in vitro culturing, expansion, and purification of viral DNA is eliminated. Furthermore, enrichment reduces the large amount of nonviral DNA that is typically present in specimens obtained directly from natural infections, thereby increasing the likelihood of successful viral genome sequencing and assembly. We have used this approach to prepare viral DNA libraries from clinical specimens derived from skin swabs, saliva, blood, and similar sources. We then use these libraries for deep sequencing and successful de novo assembly of the ~152 kb viral genomes, at coverage depths exceeding 100–1000×, for both HSV-1 and HSV-2."