Format

Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS Pathog. 2010 Jul 22;6(7):e1001005. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1001005.

Quasispecies theory and the behavior of RNA viruses.

Author information

1
Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States of America.

Abstract

A large number of medically important viruses, including HIV, hepatitis C virus, and influenza, have RNA genomes. These viruses replicate with extremely high mutation rates and exhibit significant genetic diversity. This diversity allows a viral population to rapidly adapt to dynamic environments and evolve resistance to vaccines and antiviral drugs. For the last 30 years, quasispecies theory has provided a population-based framework for understanding RNA viral evolution. A quasispecies is a cloud of diverse variants that are genetically linked through mutation, interact cooperatively on a functional level, and collectively contribute to the characteristics of the population. Many predictions of quasispecies theory run counter to traditional views of microbial behavior and evolution and have profound implications for our understanding of viral disease. Here, we discuss basic principles of quasispecies theory and describe its relevance for our understanding of viral fitness, virulence, and antiviral therapeutic strategy.

PMID:
20661479
PMCID:
PMC2908548
DOI:
10.1371/journal.ppat.1001005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center