Deciphering the SSR incidences across viral members of Coronaviridae family

Rohit Satyam, Niraj Kumar Jha, Rohan Kar, Saurabh Kumar Jha, Ankur Sharma, Dhruv Kumar, Parma Nand, Janne Ruokolainen, Kavindra Kumar Kesari, Mohammad Amjad Kamal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Presence of Simple Sequence Repeats (SSRs), both in genic and intergenic regions, have been widely studied in eukaryotes, prokaryotes, and viruses. In the current study, we undertook a survey to analyze the frequency and distribution of microsatellites or SSRs in multiple genomes of Coronaviridae members. We successfully identified 919 SSRs with length ≥12 bp across 55 reference genomes majority of which (838 SSRs) were found abundant in genic regions. The in-silico analysis further identified the preferential abundance of hexameric SSRs than any other size-based motif class. Our analysis shows that the genome size and GC content of the genome had a weak influence on SSR frequency and density. However, we find a positive correlation of SSRs GC content with genomic GC content. We also report relatively low abundances of all theoretically possible 501 repeat motif classes in all the genomes of Coronaviridae. The majority of SSRs were AT-rich. Overall, we see an underrepresentation of SSRs across the genomes of Coronaviridae. Besides, our integrative study highlights the presence of SSRs in ORF1ab (nsp3, nsp4, nsp5A_3CLpro and nsp5B_3CLpro, nsp6, nsp10, nsp12, nsp13, & nsp15 domains), S, ORF3a, ORF7a, N & 3′ UTR regions of SARS-CoV-2 and harbours multiple mutations (3′UTR and ORF1ab SSRs serving as major mutational hotspots). This indicates the genic SSRs are under selection pressure against mutations that might alter the reading frame and at the same time responsible for rapid protein evolution. Our preliminary results indicate the significance of the limited repertoire of SSRs in the genomes of Coronaviridae.
Original languageEnglish
Article number109226
Number of pages9
JournalChemico-Biological Interactions
Early online date21 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • simple sequence repeats (SSRs)
  • coronaviruses
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • evolution
  • mutations


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