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1.  Base Composition and Translational Selection are Insufficient to Explain Codon Usage Bias in Plant Viruses 
Viruses  2013;5(1):162-181.
Viral codon usage bias may be the product of a number of synergistic or antagonistic factors, including genomic nucleotide composition, translational selection, genomic architecture, and mutational or repair biases. Most studies of viral codon bias evaluate only the relative importance of genomic base composition and translational selection, ignoring other possible factors. We analyzed the codon preferences of ssRNA (luteoviruses and potyviruses) and ssDNA (geminiviruses) plant viruses that infect translationally distinct monocot and dicot hosts. We found that neither genomic base composition nor translational selection satisfactorily explains their codon usage biases. Furthermore, we observed a strong relationship between the codon preferences of viruses in the same family or genus, regardless of host or genomic nucleotide content. Our results suggest that analyzing codon bias as either due to base composition or translational selection is a false dichotomy that obscures the role of other factors. Constraints such as genomic architecture and secondary structure can and do influence codon usage in plant viruses, and likely in viruses of other hosts.
PMCID: PMC3564115  PMID: 23322170
synonymous codon usage; translational selection; genomic content; mutational bias
2.  Single-stranded genomic architecture constrains optimal codon usage 
Bacteriophage  2011;1(4):219-224.
Viral codon usage is shaped by the conflicting forces of mutational pressure and selection to match host patterns for optimal expression. We examined whether genomic architecture (single- or double-stranded DNA) influences the degree to which bacteriophage codon usage differ from their primary bacterial hosts and each other. While both correlated equally with their hosts’ genomic nucleotide content, the coat genes of ssDNA phages were less well adapted than those of dsDNA phages to their hosts’ codon usage profiles due to their preference for codons ending in thymine. No specific biases were detected in dsDNA phage genomes. In all nine of ten cases of codon redundancy in which a specific codon was overrepresented, ssDNA phages favored the NNT codon. A cytosine to thymine biased mutational pressure working in conjunction with strong selection against non-synonymous mutations appears be shaping codon usage bias in ssDNA viral genomes.
PMCID: PMC3278643  PMID: 22334868
bacteriophage; codon usage bias; evolution; genome; genomic adaptation; genomic architecture; single-stranded DNA

Results 1-2 (2)