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2020 OMIG Abstract

Presence of Genomic Signatures of Giant Viruses in Formalin-fixed Cornea Tissues and Failed Grafts

Darlene Miller, DHSc, Jorge Maestre-Mesa, PhD, Sander Dubovy, MD, and Eduardo Alfonso, MD
Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL

Purpose: Acanthamoeba keratitis is a multifaceted disease. Acanthamoeba associated microbiota may interact within its host and with the ocular surface microbiome to present unique chimeric infections and outcomes. Acanthamoeba are reservoirs and genitors of giant viruses that are emerging pathogens in humans. Our purpose was to determine the presence of giant viral genomic signatures in archived formalin-fixed corneal tissues and failed grafts of patients with persistent Acanthamoeba keratitis.

Methods: We used a combination of PCR and sequencing to identify Acanthamoeba, Mimiviridae and Pandoraviridae genomic signatures in 16 tissues from 10 patients collected over a 20-year period.

Results: Pandoraviridae were detected in 4 of the 10 patients (40%) and in 6 of the 16 tissues (37.5%) using primer specific PCR. Fifty percent of tissues were from patients with failed grafts and the remaining 2(50%) from patients requiring penetrating keratoplasty for failed treatment and scarring. Failed grafts constituted two-thirds (4/6) of the formalin fixed tissues with confirmed Pandoraviruses genomic signatures. Pandoraviruses salinus was identified in 5/6 (83.3%) of the samples No Mimiviridae genomic signatures were detected in this group of FF tissues. Acanthamoeba was identified in 2 tissues samples (1 patient) and identified as genotype 4. We probed these Acanthamoeba genomes for the presence of giant virus genomic signatures and found signatures in both for Mimiviridae (identity scores; average 100%), Pandoraviridae (identity scores average 97.5%) and Marseilleviridae (identity scores of 90%).

Conclusion: This is the first confirmation of the presence of giant viruses’ genomic signatures in archived cornea tissues of patients with Acanthamoeba keratitis. The role these may have on the presentation, management and outcome of this recalcitrant infection is still to be determined.

Disclosure: N

Support: NIH Center Grant P30EY14801; unrestricted funds from Research to Prevent Blindness to the Department of Ophthalmology



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