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Pu J.,China Agricultural University | Wang J.,China Agricultural University | Zhang Y.,China Agricultural University | Fu G.,China Agricultural University | And 4 more authors.
Virus Research

The NS1 influenza virus gene is thought to play an important role in replication and pathogenicity during infection. Previous studies have shown that mutations in the highly pathogenic avian NS1 influenza virus gene can influence virulence. However, little is known regarding the pathogenic mechanism of the NS1 gene in low pathogenic avian influenza virus. We found that NS1 genes originating from two H3 avian influenza viruses, A/duck/Beijing/40/04 (Dk/BJ/40/04) and A/duck/Beijing/61/05 (Dk/BJ/61/05), possessing three amino acid residue differences at positions 127, 205 and 209 contributed to an altered virulence in rescued NS1 recombinant viruses on a A/WSN/33 (WSN) virus background (WSN:40NS1 and WSN:61NS1) in mice. To further determine the effect on pathogenicity, we generated a series of recombinant viruses with mutations at positions 127, 205 and 209 in the NS1 gene of WSN:61NS1. Experiments in mice indicated that when compared with WSN:61NS1, viruses with only single mutations enhanced incidence of infection in mice but were not lethal. Viruses bearing substitution of two amino acid residues in the NS1 protein replicated well in lung tissue and caused 20-100% mortality in mice. Our findings demonstrate that co-mutation of amino acid residues at multiple positions in the NS1 protein can increase the pathogenicity of influenza virus in mice. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. Source

Wang J.,China Agricultural University | Sun Y.,China Agricultural University | Xu Q.,China Agricultural University | Tan Y.,China Agricultural University | And 5 more authors.

H9N2 influenza viruses have been circulating worldwide in multiple avian species and have repeatedly infected humans to cause typical disease. The continued avian-to-human interspecies transmission of H9N2 viruses raises concerns about the possibility of viral adaption with increased virulence for humans. To investigate the genetic basis of H9N2 influenza virus host range and pathogenicity in mammals, we generated a mouse-adapted H9N2 virus (SD16-MA) that possessed significantly higher virulence than wide-type virus (SD16). Increased virulence was detectable after 8 sequential lung passages in mice. Five amino acid substitutions were found in the genome of SD16-MA compared with SD16 virus: PB2 (M147L, V250G and E627K), HA (L226Q) and M1 (R210K). Assessments of replication in mice showed that all of the SD16-MA PB2, HA and M1 genome segments increased virus replication; however, only the mouse-adapted PB2 significantly increased virulence. Although the PB2 E627K amino acid substitution enhanced viral polymerase activity and replication, none of the single mutations of mouse adapted PB2 could confer increased virulence on the SD16 backbone. The combination of M147L and E627K significantly enhanced viral replication ability and virulence in mice. Thus, our results show that the combination of PB2 amino acids at position 147 and 627 is critical for the increased pathogenicity of H9N2 influenza virus in mammalian host. © 2012 Wang et al. Source

Sun Y.,China Agricultural University | Bi Y.,China Agricultural University | Bi Y.,CAS Institute of Microbiology | Pu J.,China Agricultural University | And 11 more authors.

Background: The influenza viruses circulating in animals sporadically transmit to humans and pose pandemic threats. Animal models to evaluate the potential public health risk potential of these viruses are needed. Methodology/Principal Findings: We investigated the guinea pig as a mammalian model for the study of the replication and transmission characteristics of selected swine H1N1, H1N2, H3N2 and avian H9N2 influenza viruses, compared to those of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 and seasonal human H1N1, H3N2 influenza viruses. The swine and avian influenza viruses investigated were restricted to the respiratory system of guinea pigs and shed at high titers in nasal tracts without prior adaptation, similar to human strains. None of the swine and avian influenza viruses showed transmissibility among guinea pigs; in contrast, pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus transmitted from infected guinea pigs to all animals and seasonal human influenza viruses could also horizontally transmit in guinea pigs. The analysis of the receptor distribution in the guinea pig respiratory tissues by lectin histochemistry indicated that both SAα2,3-Gal and SAα2,6-Gal receptors widely presented in the nasal tract and the trachea, while SAαa2,3-Gal receptor was the main receptor in the lung. Conclusions/Significance: We propose that the guinea pig could serve as a useful mammalian model to evaluate the potential public health threat of swine and avian influenza viruses. © 2010 Sun et al. Source

Zhao X.,China Agricultural University | Sun Y.,China Agricultural University | Pu J.,China Agricultural University | Fan L.,China Agricultural University | And 9 more authors.

Pandemic H1N1/2009 influenza virus, derived from a reassortment of avian, human, and swine influenza viruses, possesses a unique gene segment combination that had not been detected previously in animal and human populations. Whether such a gene combination could result in the pathogenicity and transmission as H1N1/2009 virus remains unclear. In the present study, we used reverse genetics to construct a reassortant virus (rH1N1) with the same gene combination as H1N1/2009 virus (NA and M genes from a Eurasian avian-like H1N1 swine virus and another six genes from a North American triple-reassortant H1N2 swine virus). Characterization of rH1N1 in mice showed that this virus had higher replicability and pathogenicity than those of the seasonal human H1N1 and Eurasian avian-like swine H1N1 viruses, but was similar to the H1N1/2009 and triple-reassortant H1N2 viruses. Experiments performed on guinea pigs showed that rH1N1 was not transmissible, whereas pandemic H1N1/2009 displayed efficient transmissibility. To further determine which gene segment played a key role in transmissibility, we constructed a series of reassortants derived from rH1N1 and H1N1/2009 viruses. Direct contact transmission studies demonstrated that the HA and NS genes contributed to the transmission of H1N1/2009 virus. Second, the HA gene of H1N1/2009 virus, when combined with the H1N1/2009 NA gene, conferred efficient contact transmission among guinea pigs. The present results reveal that not only gene segment reassortment but also amino acid mutation were needed for the generation of the pandemic influenza virus. © 2011 Zhao et al. Source

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