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Shi W.,Taishan Medical College | Shi Y.,CAS Institute of Microbiology | Shi Y.,Chinese Academy of Sciences | Wu Y.,CAS Institute of Microbiology | And 4 more authors.
Protein and Cell | Year: 2013

In June 2013, the first human H6N1 influenza virus infection was confirmed in Taiwan. However, the origin and molecular characterization of this virus, A/Taiwan/2/2013 (H6N1), have not been well studied thus far. In the present report, we performed phylogenetic and coalescent analyses of this virus and compared its molecular profile/characteristics with other closely related strains. Molecular characterization of H6N1 revealed that it is a typical avian influenza virus of low pathogenicity, which might not replicate and propagate well in the upper airway in mammals. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the virus clusters with A/chicken/Taiwan/A2837/2013 (H6N1) in seven genes, except PB1. For the PB1 gene, A/Taiwan/2/2013 was clustered with a different H6N1 lineage from A/chicken/Taiwan/ A2837/2013. Although a previous study demonstrated that the PB2, PA, and M genes of A/Taiwan/2/2013 might be derived from the H5N2 viruses, coalescent analyses revealed that these H5N2 viruses were derived from more recent strains than that of the ancestor of A/Taiwan/2/2013. Therefore, we propose that A/Taiwan/2/2013 is a reassortant from different H6N1 lineages circulating in chickens in Taiwan. Furthermore, compared to avian isolates, a single P186L (H3 numbering) substitution in the hemagglutinin H6 of the human isolate might increase the mammalian receptor binding and, hence, this strain's pathogenicity in humans. Overall, human infection with this virus seems an accidental event and is unlikely to cause an influenza pandemic. However, its co-circulation and potential reassortment with other influenza subtypes are still worthy of attention. © 2013 Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source

Bi Y.,CAS Institute of Microbiology | Bi Y.,Chinese Academy of Sciences | Mei K.,CAS Wuhan Institute of Virology | Mei K.,Hubei University | And 15 more authors.
Journal of General Virology | Year: 2015

Eight avian influenza A (H5N6) viruses were isolated from live poultry markets (LPMs) in Sichuan and Jiangxi Provinces in China in 2014, including those close to the county where the human H5N6 infection occurred. Genetic and phylogenetic analyses revealed that these H5N6 viruses were novel reassortants between H5N1 clade 2.3.4 and H6N6 viruses, and had evolved into two distinct lineages (Sichuan and Jiangxi). Moreover, the human H5N6 virus was closely related to the avian-source viruses of Sichuan lineage. Notably, H5N6 viruses contained a T160A substitution in the haemagglutinin protein and an 11 aa deletion in the neuraminidase stalk, which may aid in enhancing viral affinity for human-like receptors and virulence in mammals. As the H5N1 virus infects humans through direct contact, infection with the novel H5N6 virus raised significant concerns that the H5 subtype was a likely candidate for a pandemic. Therefore, extensive and long-term surveillance of avian influenza viruses in LPMs is essential. © 2015 The Authors. Source

Wang Q.,CAS Institute of Microbiology | Qi J.,CAS Institute of Microbiology | Yuan Y.,CAS Institute of Microbiology | Yuan Y.,Anhui University of Science and Technology | And 21 more authors.
Cell Host and Microbe | Year: 2014

The recently reported Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is phylogenetically closely related to the bat coronaviruses (BatCoVs) HKU4 and HKU5. However, the evolutionary pathway of MERS-CoV is still unclear. A receptor binding domain (RBD) in the MERS-CoV envelope-embedded spike protein specifically engages human CD26 (hCD26) to initiate viral entry. The high sequence identity in the viral spike protein prompted us to investigate if HKU4 and HKU5 can recognize hCD26 for cell entry. We found that HKU4-RBD, but not HKU5-RBD, binds to hCD26, and pseudotyped viruses embedding HKU4 spike can infect cells via hCD26 recognition. The structure of the HKU4-RBD/hCD26 complex revealed a hCD26-binding mode similar overall to that observed for MERS-RBD. HKU4-RBD, however, is less adapted to hCD26 than MERS-RBD, explaining its lower affinity for receptor binding. Our findings support a bat origin for MERS-CoV and indicate the need for surveillance of HKU4-related viruses in bats. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. Source

Vavricka C.J.,Beijing Institutes of Life Science BIOLS | Vavricka C.J.,CAS Institute of Microbiology | Liu Y.,CAS Institute of Microbiology | Kiyota H.,Tohoku University | And 14 more authors.
Nature Communications | Year: 2013

Development of novel influenza neuraminidase inhibitors is critical for preparedness against influenza outbreaks. Knowledge of the neuraminidase enzymatic mechanism and transition-state analogue, 2-deoxy-2,3-didehydro-N- acetylneuraminic acid, contributed to the development of the first generation anti-neuraminidase drugs, zanamivir and oseltamivir. However, lack of evidence regarding influenza neuraminidase key catalytic residues has limited strategies for novel neuraminidase inhibitor design. Here, we confirm that influenza neuraminidase conserved Tyr406 is the key catalytic residue that may function as a nucleophile; thus, mechanism-based covalent inhibition of influenza neuraminidase was conceived. Crystallographic studies reveal that 2α,3ax-difluoro-N-acetylneuraminic acid forms a covalent bond with influenza neuraminidase Tyr406 and the compound was found to possess potent anti-influenza activity against both influenza A and B viruses. Our results address many unanswered questions about the influenza neuraminidase catalytic mechanism and demonstrate that covalent inhibition of influenza neuraminidase is a promising and novel strategy for the development of next-generation influenza drugs. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. Source

Lu G.,CAS Institute of Microbiology | Lu G.,University of Sichuan | Wang Q.,CAS Institute of Microbiology | Gao G.F.,CAS Institute of Microbiology | Gao G.F.,Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention China
Trends in Microbiology | Year: 2015

Both severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) are zoonotic pathogens that crossed the species barriers to infect humans. The mechanism of viral interspecies transmission is an important scientific question to be addressed. These coronaviruses contain a surface-located spike (S) protein that initiates infection by mediating receptor-recognition and membrane fusion and is therefore a key factor in host specificity. In addition, the S protein needs to be cleaved by host proteases before executing fusion, making these proteases a second determinant of coronavirus interspecies infection. Here, we summarize the progress made in the past decade in understanding the cross-species transmission of SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV by focusing on the features of the S protein, its receptor-binding characteristics, and the cleavage process involved in priming. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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