Journal article

Rapid evolution of the PB1-F2 virulence protein expressed by human seasonal H3N2 influenza viruses reduces inflammatory responses to infection

Julie McAuley, Yi-Mo Deng, Brad Gilbertson, Charley Mackenzie-Kludas, Ian Barr, Lorena Brown

VIROLOGY JOURNAL | BIOMED CENTRAL LTD | Published : 2017

Abstract

Influenza A virus (IAV) PB1-F2 protein has been linked to viral virulence. Strains of the H3N2 subtype historically express full-length PB1-F2 proteins but during the 2010-2011 influenza seasons, nearly half of the circulating H3N2 IAVs encoded truncated PB1-F2 protein. Using a panel of reverse engineered H3N2 IAVs differing only in the origin of the PB1 gene segment, we found that only the virus encoding the avian-derived 1968 PB1 gene matching the human pandemic strain enhanced cellular infiltrate into the alveolar spaces of infected mice. We linked this phenomenon to expression of full-length PB1-F2 protein encompassing critical "inflammatory" residues.

Grants

Awarded by Australian Government National Health and Medical Research Council grant


Funding Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Australian Government National Health and Medical Research Council grant 1,026,619 and program grant 567,122. The Melbourne WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza is supported by the Australian Government Department of Health.