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UNLABELLED - In nearly all characterized influenza viruses, hemagglutinin (HA) is the receptor-binding protein while neuraminidase (NA) is a receptor-cleaving protein that aids in viral release. However, in recent years, several groups have described point mutations that confer receptor-binding activity on NA, albeit in laboratory rather than natural settings. One of these mutations, D151G, appears to arise in the NA of recent human H3N2 viruses upon passage in tissue culture. We inadvertently isolated the second of these mutations, G147R, in the NA of the lab-adapted A/WSN/33 (H1N1) strain while we were passaging a heavily engineered virus in the lab. G147R also occurs at low frequencies in the reported sequences of viruses from three different lineages: human 2009 pandemic H1N1 (pdmH1N1), human seasonal H1N1, and chicken H5N1. Here we reconstructed a representative G147R NA from each of these lineages and found that all of the proteins have acquired the ability to bind an unknown cellular receptor while retaining substantial sialidase activity. We then reconstructed a virus with the HA and NA of a reported G147R pdmH1N1 variant and found no attenuation of viral replication in cell culture or change in pathogenesis in mice. Furthermore, the G147R virus had modestly enhanced resistance to neutralization by the Fab of an antibody against the receptor-binding pocket of HA, although it remained completely sensitive to the full-length IgG. Overall, our results suggest that circulating N1 viruses occasionally may acquire the G147R NA receptor-binding mutation without impairment of replicative capacity.
IMPORTANCE - Influenza viruses have two main proteins on their surface: one (hemagglutinin) binds incoming viruses to cells, while the other (neuraminidase) helps release newly formed viruses from these same cells. Here we characterize unusual mutant neuraminidases that have acquired the ability to bind to cells. We show that the mutation that allows neuraminidase to bind cells has no apparent adverse effect on viral replication but does make the virus modestly more resistant to a fragment of an antibody that blocks the normal hemagglutinin-mediated mode of viral attachment. Our results suggest that viruses with receptor-binding neuraminidases may occur at low levels in circulating influenza virus lineages.
Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
Lipid metabolism plays a fundamental role during influenza virus replication, although key regulators of lipid-dependent trafficking and virus production remain inadequately defined. This report demonstrates that infection by influenza virus stimulates phospholipase D (PLD) activity and that PLD co-localizes with influenza during infection. Both chemical inhibition and RNA interference of PLD delayed viral entry and reduced viral titers in vitro. Although there may be contributions by both major isoenzymes, the effects on viral infectivity appear to be more dependent on the PLD2 isoenzyme. In vivo, PLD2 inhibition reduced virus titer and correlated with significant increases in transcription of innate antiviral effectors. The reduction in viral titer downstream of PLD2 inhibition was dependent on Rig-I (retinoic acid-inducible gene-1), IRF3, and MxA (myxovirus resistance gene A) but not IRF7. Inhibition of PLD2 accelerated the accumulation of MxA in foci as early as 30 min postinfection. Together these data suggest that PLD facilitates the rapid endocytosis of influenza virus, permitting viral escape from innate immune detection and effectors that are capable of limiting lethal infection.
© 2014 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
BACKGROUND - The Respiratory Infections in Andean Peruvian Children (RESPIRA-PERU) study enrolled children who participated in a community-cluster randomized trial of improved stoves, solar water disinfection, and kitchen sinks (IHIP trial) and children from additional Andean households. We quantified the burden of influenza-associated acute respiratory illness (ARI) in this household-based cohort.
METHODS - From May 2009 to September 2011, we conducted active weekly ARI surveillance in 892 children age <3 years, of whom 272 (30.5%) had participated in the IHIP trial. We collected nasal swabs during ARI, tested for influenza and other respiratory viruses by RT-PCR, and determined influenza incidence and risk factors using mixed-effects regression models.
RESULTS - The overall incidence of influenza-associated ARI was 36.6/100 child-years; incidence of influenza A, B, and C was 20.5, 8.7, and 5.2/100 child-years, respectively. Influenza C was associated with fewer days of subjective fever (median 1 vs. 2) and malaise (median 0 vs. 2) compared to influenza A. Non-influenza ARI also resulted in fewer days of fever and malaise, and fewer healthcare visits than influenza A-associated ARI. Influenza incidence varied by calendar year (80% occurred in the 2010 season) and IHIP trial participation. Among households that participated in the IHIP trial, influenza-associated ARI incidence was significantly lower in intervention than in control households (RR 0.40, 95% CI: 0.20-0.82).
CONCLUSIONS - Influenza burden is high among Andean children. ARI associated with influenza A and B had longer symptom duration and higher healthcare utilization than influenza C-associated ARI or non-influenza ARI. Environmental community interventions may reduce influenza morbidity.
BACKGROUND - Animal models suggest that influenza infection favors nasopharyngeal acquisition of pneumococci. We assessed this relationship with influenza and other respiratory viruses in young children.
METHODS - A case-control study was nested within a prospective cohort study of acute respiratory illness (ARI) in Andean children <3 years of age (RESPIRA-PERU study). Weekly household visits were made to identify ARI and obtain nasal swabs for viral detection using real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction. Monthly nasopharyngeal (NP) samples were obtained to assess pneumococcal colonization. We determined whether specific respiratory viral ARI episodes occurring within the interval between NP samples increased the risk of NP acquisition of new pneumococcal serotypes.
RESULTS - A total of 729 children contributed 2128 episodes of observation, including 681 pneumococcal acquisition episodes (new serotype, not detected in prior sample), 1029 nonacquisition episodes (no colonization or persistent colonization with the same serotype as the prior sample), and 418 indeterminate episodes. The risk of pneumococcal acquisition increased following influenza-ARI (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 2.19; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.02-4.69) and parainfluenza-ARI (AOR, 1.86; 95% CI, 1.15-3.01), when compared with episodes without ARI. Other viral infections (respiratory syncytial virus, human metapneumovirus, human rhinovirus, and adenovirus) were not associated with acquisition.
CONCLUSIONS - Influenza and parainfluenza ARIs appeared to facilitate pneumococcal acquisition among young children. As acquisition increases the risk of pneumococcal diseases, these observations are pivotal in our attempts to prevent pneumococcal disease.
Asthma was the most common comorbidity in hospitalized patients during the 2009 influenza pandemic. For unknown reasons, hospitalized asthmatics had less severe outcomes and were less likely to die from pandemic influenza. Our data with primary human bronchial cells indicate that changes intrinsic to epithelial cells in asthma may protect against cytopathology induced by influenza virus. To further study influenza virus pathogenesis in allergic hosts, we aimed to develop and characterize murine models of asthma and influenza comorbidity to determine structural, physiological and immunological changes induced by influenza in the context of asthma. Aspergillus fumigatus-sensitized and -challenged C57BL/6 mice were infected with pandemic H1N1 influenza virus, either during peak allergic inflammation or during airway remodeling to gain insight into disease pathogenesis. Mice infected with the influenza virus during peak allergic inflammation did not lose body weight and cleared the virus rapidly. These mice exhibited high eosinophilia, preserved airway epithelial cell integrity, increased mucus, reduced interferon response and increased insulin-like growth factor-1. In contrast, weight loss and viral replication kinetics in the mice that were infected during the late airway remodeling phase were equivalent to flu-only controls. These mice had neutrophils in the airways, damaged airway epithelial cells, less mucus production, increased interferons and decreased insulin-like growth factor-1. The state of the allergic airways at the time of influenza virus infection alters host responses against the virus. These murine models of asthma and influenza comorbidity may improve our understanding of the epidemiology and pathogenesis of viral infections in humans with asthma.
Programming an anti-flu strategy: A new and potent neuraminidase inhibitor that maintains long-term systemic exposure of an antibody and the therapeutic activity of the neuraminadase inhibitor zanamivir has been created. This strategy could provide a promising new class of influenza A drugs for therapy and prophylaxis, and validates enzyme inhibitors as programming agents in synthetic immunology.
Copyright © 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.
The human antibody repertoire has an exceptionally large capacity to recognize new or changing antigens through combinatorial and junctional diversity established at the time of V(D)J recombination and through somatic hypermutation. Influenza viruses exhibit a relentless capacity to escape the human antibody response by altering the amino acids of their surface proteins in hypervariable domains that exhibit a high level of structural plasticity. Both parties in this high-stakes game of shape shifting drive structural evolution of their functional proteins (the B cell receptor/antibody on one side and the viral hemagglutinin and neuraminidase proteins on the other) using error-prone polymerase systems. It is likely that most of the genetic mutations that occur in these systems are deleterious, resulting in the failure of the B cell or virus with mutations to propagate in the immune repertoire or viral quasispecies. A subset of mutations is tolerated in functional surface proteins that enter the B cell or virus progeny pool. In both cases, selection occurs in the population of mutated and unmutated species. In cases where the functional avidity of the B cell receptor is increased significantly, that clone may be selected for preferential expansion. In contrast, an influenza virus that "escapes" the inhibitory effect of secreted antibodies may represent a high proportion of the progeny virus in that host. The recent paper by O'Donnell et al. [C. D. O'Donnell et al., mBio 3(3):e00120-12, 2012] identifies a mechanism for antibody resistance that does not require escape from binding but rather achieves a greater efficiency in replication.
BACKGROUND - We performed a prospective study to determine the disease burden of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and human metapneumovirus (HMPV) in older adults in comparison with influenza virus.
METHODS - During 3 consecutive winters, we enrolled Davidson County (Nashville, TN) residents aged ≥ 50 years admitted to 1 of 4 hospitals with acute respiratory illness (ARI). Nasal/throat swabs were tested for influenza, RSV, and HMPV with reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. Hospitalization rates were calculated.
RESULTS - Of 1042 eligible patients, 508 consented to testing. Respiratory syncytial virus was detected in 31 participants (6.1%); HMPV was detected in 23 (4.5%) patients; and influenza was detected in 33 (6.5%) patients. Of those subjects aged ≥ 65 years, 78% received influenza vaccination. Compared with patients with confirmed influenza, patients with RSV were older and more immunocompromised; patients with HMPV were older, had more cardiovascular disease, were more likely to have received the influenza vaccination, and were less likely to report fever than those with influenza. Over 3 years, average annual rates of hospitalization were 15.01, 9.82, and 11.81 per 10,000 county residents due to RSV, HMPV, and influenza, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS - In adults aged ≥ 50 years, hospitalization rates for RSV and HMPV were similar to those associated with influenza.
Investigation of the human antibody response to the 1957 pandemic H2N2 influenza A virus has been largely limited to serologic studies. We generated five influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA)-reactive human monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) by hybridoma technology from the peripheral blood of healthy donors who were born between 1950 and 1968. Two MAbs reacted with the pandemic H2N2 virus, two recognized the pandemic H3N2 virus, and remarkably, one reacted with both the pandemic H2N2 and H3N2 viruses. Each of these five naturally occurring MAbs displayed hemagglutination inhibition activity, suggesting specificity for the globular head domain of influenza virus HA. When incubated with virus, MAbs 8F8, 8M2, and 2G1 each elicited H2N2 escape mutations immediately adjacent to the receptor-binding domain on the HA globular head in embryonated chicken eggs. All H2N2-specific MAbs were able to inhibit a 2006 swine H2N3 influenza virus. MAbs 8M2 and 2G1 shared the V(H)1-69 germ line gene, but these antibodies were otherwise not genetically related. Each antibody was able to protect mice in a lethal H2N2 virus challenge. Thus, even 43 years after circulation of H2N2 viruses, these subjects possessed peripheral blood B cells encoding potent inhibiting antibodies specific for a conserved region on the globular head of the pandemic H2 HA.