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[en] The M2 protein (AM2 and BM2) of influenza A and B viruses function as a proton channel essential for viral replication. They also carry a cytoplasmic tail whose functions are not fully delineated. It is currently unknown whether these proteins could be replaced functionally in a viral context. Here, we generated single-cycle influenza A viruses (scIAV-ΔHA) carrying various M2-2A-mCherry constructs in the segment 4 (HA) and evaluated their growth in complementing cells. Intriguingly, the scIAV-ΔHA carrying AM2 and that bearing BM2 grew comparably well in MDCK-HA cells. Furthermore, while the virus carrying chimeric B-AM2 in which the BM2 transmembrane fused with the AM2 cytoplasmic tail produced robust infection, the one bearing the AM2 transmembrane fused with the BM2 cytoplasmic tail (A-BM2) exhibited severely impaired growth. Altogether, we demonstrate that AM2 and BM2 are functionally interchangeable and underscore the role of compatibility between transmembrane and cytoplasmic tail of the M2 protein. -- Highlights: •Flu A M2 protein (AM2) can be functionally replaced by that of Flu B (BM2). •Both AM2 and BM2 with extended cytoplasmic tail are functional. •Compatibility between the ion channel and the cytoplasmic tail is critical for M2 function. •M2 with higher ion channel activity may augment influenza virus replication.
[en] Quail have emerged as a potential intermediate host in the spread of avian influenza A viruses in poultry in Hong Kong. To better understand this possible role, we tested the replication and transmission in quail of influenza A viruses of all 15 HA subtypes. Quail supported the replication of at least 14 subtypes. Influenza A viruses replicated predominantly in the respiratory tract. Transmission experiments suggested that perpetuation of avian influenza viruses in quail requires adaptation. Swine influenza viruses were isolated from the respiratory tract of quail at low levels. There was no evidence of human influenza A or B virus replication. Interestingly, a human-avian recombinant containing the surface glycoprotein genes of a quail virus and the internal genes of a human virus replicated and transmitted readily in quail; therefore, quail could function as amplifiers of influenza virus reassortants that have the potential to infect humans and/or other mammalian species
[en] Influenza A are nuclear replicating viruses which hijack host machineries in order to achieve optimal infection. Numerous functional virus–host interactions have now been characterized, but little information has been gathered concerning their link to the virally induced remodeling of the host cellular architecture. In this study, we infected cells with several human and avian influenza viruses and we have analyzed their ultrastructural modifications by using electron and confocal microscopy. We discovered that infections lead to a major and systematic disruption of nucleoli and the formation of a large number of diverse viral structures showing specificity that depended on the subtype origin and genomic composition of viruses. We identified NS1 and M1 proteins as the main actors in the remodeling of the host ultra-structure and our results suggest that each influenza A virus strain could be associated with a specific cellular fingerprint, possibly correlated to the functional properties of their viral components.
[en] Avian influenza became a new threat and has set people thinking about possibility of new influenza pandemic which may be caused by highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza virus. The virus could acquire ability of fast spreading between the humans and new pandemics could kill millions. Influenza virus H5N1 exhibited its deadly essence by taking out many millions of birds in nature and aviculture; other millions of chicks and ducks were killed to prevent spread of the epizootic. The strains isolated in Russia belong to Qinghai group of H5N1 influenza virus, and were imported to Russia by migratory birds. We examined time-course changes in mice blood and lungs after intranasal infection with strains A /Chicken/ Kurgan/ 05/2005, A/ Duck/ Kurgan/08/ 2005 and A/ Chicken/ Suzdalka/ Nov-11/2005 differing in virulence for this animal species. Development of leucopenia and severe damage of hemopoiesis were found in mice infected with all H5N1 influenza virus strains. Pathological changes in mice lungs during the infection with above mentioned strains, and strain-specific features have been examined. Main characteristics of lung pathology in all mice were focal nature of the alterations, severe damage of bronchial epithelium and pronounced alteration of lung vasculature. Strain A/Chicken/Suzdalka/Nov-11/2005 induced massive apoptosis of infected bronchial cells which may be a part of mechanism responsible for avirulent properties of this strain. The most interesting finding was absence of serious direct virus damage of the lung evidencing for principal role of the host humoral mechanisms in pathogenesis of H5N1 influenza in mice.(author)
[en] In this study, an in silico method for analyzing physicochemical and structural properties of the hemagglutinin molecule is presented and used to identify putative residues that differentiate two strains of influenza A. Protein sequences of the A/New York/55/2004 (NY55) and A/Wisconsin/67/2005 (WSC67) type strains, and NY55- and WSC67-like isolates were obtained from the NCBI Protein Database. Positional changes in hydrophobicity, size and polarizability, and charge and polarity indexes were quantified, and antigenicity values for each residue based on modeled structures of each sequence were calculated. By identifying non- conserved positions between the NY55 and WSC67 parent strains, then analyzing the conservation of residues at those positions within each set of the parent-like sequences and mapping to putative immunodominant epitopes common to both NY55 and WSC67, results suggest that the mutations R193F and D225N differentiate between the two strains of influenza virus, and may form a neutralizing epitope. Each mutation is located within 16A of predicted immunodominant residues, and within 8A of the sialic acid binding region. Sequence analysis also indicates that either mutation may be sufficient for antibody discrimination, since simultaneous mutations were not observed within each set of derived sequences. Moreover, the predicted immunodominant regions are in close agreement with the antigenic sites identified by Cox (1981) for H3 hemagglutinin. R193F involves a change from a linear, charged residue to a bulky, aromatic ammo acid, while D225N may possibly involve glycosylation. To conclude, this method could prove useful in in silico characterization of antigenic drift, in predicting mutation patterns, and aid in the design of vaccines against influenza. Analysis of a wider set of sequences is currently under way. (author)
[en] The nucleoprotein (NP) of the influenza virus is expressed in the early stage of infection and plays important roles in numerous steps of viral replication. NP is relatively well conserved compared with viral surface spike proteins. This study experimentally demonstrates that NP is a novel target for the development of new antiviral drugs against the influenza virus. First, artificial analogs of mycalamide A in a chemical array bound specifically with high affinity to NP. Second, the compounds inhibited multiplication of the influenza virus. Furthermore, surface plasmon resonance imaging experiments demonstrated that the binding activity of each compound to NP correlated with its antiviral activity. Finally, it was shown that these compounds bound NP within the N-terminal 110-amino acid region but their binding abilities were dramatically reduced when the N-terminal 13-amino acid tail was deleted, suggesting that the compounds might bind to this region, which mediates the nuclear transport of NP and its binding to viral RNA. These data suggest that compound binding to the N-terminal 13-amino acid tail region may inhibit viral replication by inhibiting the functions of NP. Collectively, these results strongly suggest that chemical arrays are convenient tools for the screening of viral product inhibitors.
[en] Highlights: ► Vero cell-based HPAI H5N1 vaccine with stable high yield. ► Stable high yield derived from the YNVa H3N2 backbone. ► H5N1/YNVa has a similar safety and immunogenicity to H5N1delta. -- Abstract: Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses pose a global pandemic threat, for which rapid large-scale vaccine production technology is critical for prevention and control. Because chickens are highly susceptible to HPAI viruses, the supply of chicken embryos for vaccine production might be depleted during a virus outbreak. Therefore, developing HPAI virus vaccines using other technologies is critical. Meeting vaccine demand using the Vero cell-based fermentation process has been hindered by low stability and yield. In this study, a Vero cell-based HPAI H5N1 vaccine candidate (H5N1/YNVa) with stable high yield was achieved by reassortment of the Vero-adapted (Va) high growth A/Yunnan/1/2005(H3N2) (YNVa) virus with the A/Anhui/1/2005(H5N1) attenuated influenza vaccine strain (H5N1delta) using the 6/2 method. The reassorted H5N1/YNVa vaccine maintained a high hemagglutination (HA) titer of 1024. Furthermore, H5N1/YNVa displayed low pathogenicity and uniform immunogenicity compared to that of the parent virus.
[en] The influenza virus is able to continually evade the immune response through the rapid mutation of the dominant epitopes on its surface, thus making periodic vaccinations a necessity to combat infection. Recombinant ''de-antigenized'' hemagglutinin, where the highly mutable epitopes have been modified to exhibit reduced antigenicity, should be able to confer protective immunity against antigenically drifted strains of the influenza virus. This study aimed to produce and purify recombinant de-antigenized hemagglutinin of Influenza A/Philippines/725 as well as to determine their antigenicity in mice. A Drosophila expression system was used to produce histidine-tagged de-antigenized hemagglutinin. These were purified on a Ni-NTA column, and subsequent fractions were characterized using BCA assay, ELISA, and Western blot. Purified hemagglutinins were produced in large quantities for the vaccination of BALB/c mice. The humoral immune response of mice was tested by ELISA. Purification yields and levels of wildtype and de- antigenized hemagglutinin from harvested conditioned media was confirmed by anti-HA and anti-6xHis Western blots and ELISA. Following immunization, both proteins were able to generate antibody responses in mice. In addition, the antibody response of mice immunized with de-antigenized hemagglutinin was significantly lower than those immunized with wildtype hemagglutinin. This verified that the de-antigenized hemagglutinin was able to exhibit reduced antigenicity in vivo. These promising results warrant further studies on other humoral and cellular immune responses. (author)
[en] Given that co-infection of cells with equivalent titers of influenza A and B viruses (FluA and FluB) has been shown to result in suppression of FluA growth, it is possible that FluB-specific proteins might hinder FluA polymerase activity and replication. We addressed this possibility by individually determining the effect of each gene of FluB on the FluA polymerase assay and found that the nucleoprotein of FluB (NPFluB) inhibits polymerase activity of FluA in a dose-dependent manner. Mutational analyses of NPFluB suggest that functional NPFluB is necessary for this inhibition. Slower growth of FluA was also observed in MDCK cells stably expressing NPFluB. Further analysis of NPFluB indicated that it does not affect nuclear import of NPFluA. Taken together, these findings suggest a novel role of NPFluB in inhibiting replication of FluA, providing more insights into the mechanism of interference between FluA and FluB and the lack of reassortants between them.
[en] We studied influenza virus M1 protein by generating HeLa and MDCK cell lines that express M1 genetically fused to green fluorescent protein (GFP). GFP-M1 was incorporated into virions produced by influenza virus infected MDCK cells expressing the fusion protein indicating that the fusion protein is at least partially functional. Following infection of either HeLa or MDCK cells with influenza A virus (but not influenza B virus), GFP-M1 redistributes from its cytosolic/nuclear location and accumulates in nuclear dots. Immunofluorescence revealed that the nuclear dots represent nuclear dot 10 (ND10) structures. The colocalization of authentic M1, as well as NS1 and NS2 protein, with ND10 was confirmed by immunofluorescence following in situ isolation of ND10. These findings demonstrate a previously unappreciated involvement of influenza virus with ND10, a structure involved in cellular responses to immune cytokines as well as the replication of a rapidly increasing list of viruses