Personalized viral genomic investigation of herpes simplex virus 1 perinatal viremic transmission with dual fatality

MacKenzie M. Shipley, Daniel W. Renner, Utsav Pandey, Bradley Ford, David C. Bloom, Charles Grose, Moriah L. Szpara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Here we present a personalized viral genomics approach to investigating a rare case of perinatal herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) transmission that ended in death of both mother and neonate. We sought to determine whether the virus involved in this rare case had any unusual features that may have contributed to the dire patient outcome. A pregnant woman with negative HerpeSelect antibody test underwent cesarean section at 30 wk gestation and died the same day. The premature newborn died 5 d later. Both individuals were found postmortem to have positive blood HSV-1 PCR tests. Using oligonucleotide enrichment and deep sequencing, we determined that viral transmission from mother to infant was nearly perfect at the consensusgenomelevel. At the virus population level,77%of minor variants (MVs) in the mother's blood also appeared on the neonate's skin, of which more than half were disseminated into the neonate's blood. We also detected nonmaternal MVs that arose de novo in the neonate's viral populations. Of note, one de novo MV in the neonate's skin virus induced a nonsynonymous mutation in the UL6 protein, which is a component of the portal that allows DNA entry into new progeny capsids. This case suggests that perinatal viremic HSV-1 transmission includes the majority of genetic diversity fromthe maternal virus population and that new, nonsynonymous mutations can occur after relatively few rounds of replication. This report expands our understanding of viral transmission in humans and may lead to improved diagnostic strategies for neonatal HSV-1 acquisition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbera004382
JournalCold Spring Harbor Molecular Case Studies
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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