Archives of Virology

, Volume 164, Issue 2, pp 335–347 | Cite as

A detailed analysis of synonymous codon usage in human bocavirus

  • Snawar HussainEmail author
  • Sahibzada Tasleem Rasool
  • Afzal Haq Asif
Original Article


Human bocavirus (HBoV) is a recently discovered parvovirus associated with respiratory and gastroenteric infections in children. To date, four distinct subtypes have been identified worldwide. HBoV1 is the most frequently detected bocavirus in clinical samples derived from the respiratory tract. HBoV has a single-stranded DNA genome, which encodes two nonstructural proteins, NS1 and NP1, and two structural proteins, VP1 and VP2. Despite a large number of available HBoV sequences, the molecular evolution of this virus remains enigmatic. Here, we applied bioinformatic methods to measure the codon usage bias in 156 HBoV genomes and analyzed the factors responsible for preferential use of various synonymous codons. The effective number of codons (ENC) indicates a highly conserved, gene-specific codon usage bias in the HBoV genome. The structural genes exhibit a higher degree of codon usage bias than the non-structural genes. Natural selection emerged as dominant factor influencing the codon usage bias in the HBoV genome. Other factors that influence the codon usage include mutational pressure, gene length, protein properties, and the relative abundance of dinucleotides. The results presented in this study provide important insight into the molecular evolution of HBoV and may serve as a primer for HBoV gene expression studies and development of safe and effective vaccines to prevent infection.



We thank the College of Clinical Pharmacy for providing necessary support to conduct this research. This research was supported by the Deanship of Scientific Research, King Faisal University, grant #160009.

Author contributions

SH, STR and AHA identified the research topic and designed the study. SH collected the data and conducted the analysis. SH, STR and AHA prepared the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This research work does not involve human participants or animals.

Informed consent

Not applicable, as no human participants are involved.

Supplementary material

705_2018_4063_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (182 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 181 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Snawar Hussain
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sahibzada Tasleem Rasool
    • 1
  • Afzal Haq Asif
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical Science, College of Clinical PharmacyKing Faisal UniversityAl-AhsaKingdom of Saudi Arabia

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