Full factorial analysis of mammalian and avian influenza polymerase subunits suggests a role of an efficient polymerase for virus adaptation.
ABSTRACT: Amongst all the internal gene segments (PB2. PB1, PA, NP, M and NS), the avian PB1 segment is the only one which was reassorted into the human H2N2 and H3N2 pandemic strains. This suggests that the reassortment of polymerase subunit genes between mammalian and avian influenza viruses might play roles for interspecies transmission. To test this hypothesis, we tested the compatibility between PB2, PB1, PA and NP derived from a H5N1 virus and a mammalian H1N1 virus. All 16 possible combinations of avian-mammalian chimeric viral ribonucleoproteins (vRNPs) were characterized. We showed that recombinant vRNPs with a mammalian PB2 and an avian PB1 had the strongest polymerase activities in human cells at all studied temperature. In addition, viruses with this specific PB2-PB1 combination could grow efficiently in cell cultures, especially at a high incubation temperature. These viruses were potent inducers of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines in primary human macrophages and pneumocytes. Viruses with this specific PB2-PB1 combination were also found to be more capable to generate adaptive mutations under a new selection pressure. These results suggested that the viral polymerase activity might be relevant for the genesis of influenza viruses of human health concern.
Project description:Reassortment of influenza A viruses can give rise to viral ribonucleoproteins (vRNPs) with elevated polymerase activity and the previous three pandemic influenza viruses contained reassorted vRNPs of different origins. These suggest that reassorted vRNP may be one of the factors leading to a pandemic virus. In this study, we reconstituted chimeric vRNPs with three different viral strains isolated from avian, human and swine hosts. We applied a statistical strategy to identify the effect that the origin of a single vRNP protein subunit or the interactions between these subunits on polymerase activity.Eighty one chimeric vRNPs were reconstituted in 293T cells at different temperatures. Polymerase activity was determined by luciferase reporter assay and the results were analysed by multiway anova and other statistical methods.It was found that PB2, PB1, NP, PB2-PB1 interaction, PB2-PA interaction and PB1-NP interaction had significant effect on polymerase activity at 37°C and several single subunits and interactions were identified to lead to elevation of polymerase activity. Furthermore, we studied 27 out of these 81 different chimieric vRNPs in different combinations via fractional factorial design approach. Our results suggested that the approach can identify the major single subunit or interaction factors that affect the polymerase activity without the need to experimentally reproduce all possible vRNP combinations.Statistical approach and fractional factorial design are useful to identify the major single subunit or interaction factors that can modulate viral polymerase activity.
Project description:OBJECTIVE: To determine the molecular characterization of Polymerase complex (PA, PB1 and PB2) genes of H9N2 avian influenza viruses and the genetic relationship of Iranian H9N2 viruses and other Asian viruses. METHODS: The Polymerase complex (PA, PB1 and PB2) genes from seven isolates of H9N2 viruses isolated from commercial chickens in Iran during 2008-2009 were amplified (by RT-PCR method) and sequenced. Nucleotide sequences (Open Reading Frame: orf) of the PA, PB1 and PB2 genes were used for phylogenetic tree construction. RESULTS: Most PB2 and PA genes of the H9N2 viruses isolated in 2008-2009 belonged to the unknown avian sublineage which grouped with the 2004 Pakistani H7N3 viruses. The PB1 genes of Iranian viruses indicated greater genetic diversity and shared a high level of similarity to PB1 genes from either H5 or H7 subtypes with compared to established H9N2 Eurasian sublineages. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrated that the H9N2 viruses in Iran exhibit striking reassortment which has led to the generation of new genotypes.
Project description:We have previously reported that mutations in the polymerase proteins PB1, PB2, PA, and the nucleocapsid protein NP resulting in enhanced transcription and replication activities in mammalian cells are responsible for the conversion of the avian influenza virus SC35 (H7N7) into the mouse-adapted variant SC35M. We show now that adaptive mutations D701N in PB2 and N319K in NP enhance binding of these proteins to importin alpha1 in mammalian cells. Enhanced binding was paralleled by transient nuclear accumulation and cytoplasmic depletion of importin alpha1 as well as increased transport of PB2 and NP into the nucleus of mammalian cells. In avian cells, enhancement of importin alpha1 binding and increased nuclear transport were not observed. These findings demonstrate that adaptation of the viral polymerase to the nuclear import machinery plays an important role in interspecies transmission of influenza virus.
Project description:The polymerase complex proteins (PB2, PB1, and PA) are responsible primarily for the replication of avian influenza virus and play an important role in virus virulence, mammalian adaptation, and interspecies transmission. In this study; eight Egyptian LPAI-H9N2 viruses isolated from apparent healthy chickens and quails from 2014 to 2016. Characterization of complete nucleotide sequences, phylogenetic and mutation analysis were carried out. The measurement of thermodynamic stability of the H9N2 polymerase protein in comparison to human H3N2 and H1N1 proteins was carried out using in silico method. Phylogenetic analysis of these viruses revealed a close relationship to viruses isolated from neighboring Middle Eastern countries with an average of 96-99% homology. They are sharing the common ancestor A/quail/Hong Kong/G1/1997 (G1-Like) without any evidence for genetic reassortment. In addition, eight markers related to virulence were identified, including the combination of 627V and 391E in the PB2 gene with full-length PB1-F2 and PA-X proteins were observed in all viruses and the substitution N66S in PB1-F2 which suggest increasing virus virulence. Moreover, six markers that may affect the virus replication and transmission in mammalian hosts were identified. Five mutations related to mammalian adaptation show a structural stabilizing effect on LPAI-H9N2 polymerase complex protein according to the free-energy change (??G). Three out of those six adaptive mutations shown to increase polymerase complex protein stability were found in Egyptian LPAI-H9N2 viruses similar to Human H3N2 and H1N1 (661 in PB2, 225 and 409 in PA genes). Our results suggested that the stabilizing mutations in the polymerase complex protein have likely affected the protein structure and induced favorable conditions for avian virus replication and transmission in mammalian hosts. Indeed, the study reports the mutational analysis of the circulating LPAI-H9N2 strains in Egypt.
Project description:Human influenza pandemics have historically been caused by reassortant influenza A viruses using genes from human and avian viruses. This genetic reassortment between human and avian viruses has been known to occur in swine during viral circulation, as swine are capable of circulating both avian and human viruses. Therefore, avian-to-swine transmission of viruses plays an important role in the emergence of new pandemic strains. The amino acids at several positions on PB2, PB1, and PA are known to determine the host range of influenza A viruses. In this paper, we track viral transmission between avian and swine to investigate the evolution on polymerase genes associated with their hosts. We traced viral transmissions between avian and swine hosts by using nucleotide sequences of avian viruses and swine viruses registered in the NCBI GenBank. Using BLAST and the reciprocal best hits technique, we found 32, 33, and 30 pairs of avian and swine nucleotide sequences that may be associated with avian-to-swine transmissions for PB2, PB1, and PA genes, respectively. Then, we examined the amino acid substitutions involved in these sporadic transmissions. On average, avian-to-swine transmission pairs had 5.47, 3.73, and 5.13 amino acid substitutions on PB2, PB1, and PA, respectively. However, amino acid substitutions were distributed over the positions, and few positions showed common substitutions in the multiple transmission events. Statistical tests on the number of repeated amino acid substitutions suggested that no specific positions on PB2 and PA may be required for avian viruses to infect swine. We also found that avian viruses that transmitted to swine tend to process I478V substitutions on PB2 before interspecies transmission events. Furthermore, most mutations occurred after the interspecies transmissions, possibly due to selective viral adaptation to swine.
Project description:The RNA genome of influenza A viruses is transcribed and replicated by the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, composed of the subunits PA, PB1, and PB2. High-resolution structural data revealed that the polymerase assembles into a central polymerase core and several auxiliary highly flexible, protruding domains. The auxiliary PB2 cap-binding and the PA endonuclease domains are both involved in cap snatching, but the role of the auxiliary PB2 627 domain, implicated in host range restriction of influenza A viruses, is still poorly understood. In this study, we used structure-guided truncations of the PB2 subunit to show that a PB2 subunit lacking the 627 domain accumulates in the cell nucleus and assembles into a heterotrimeric polymerase with PB1 and PA. Furthermore, we showed that a recombinant viral polymerase lacking the PB2 627 domain is able to carry out cap snatching, cap-dependent transcription initiation, and cap-independent ApG dinucleotide extension in vitro, indicating that the PB2 627 domain of the influenza virus RNA polymerase is not involved in core catalytic functions of the polymerase. However, in a cellular context, the 627 domain is essential for both transcription and replication. In particular, we showed that the PB2 627 domain is essential for the accumulation of the cRNA replicative intermediate in infected cells. Together, these results further our understanding of the role of the PB2 627 domain in transcription and replication of the influenza virus RNA genome.IMPORTANCE Influenza A viruses are a major global health threat, not only causing disease in both humans and birds but also placing significant strains on economies worldwide. Avian influenza A virus polymerases typically do not function efficiently in mammalian hosts and require adaptive mutations to restore polymerase activity. These adaptations include mutations in the 627 domain of the PB2 subunit of the viral polymerase, but it still remains to be established how these mutations enable host adaptation on a molecular level. In this report, we characterize the role of the 627 domain in polymerase function and offer insights into the replication mechanism of influenza A viruses.
Project description:Gene mutations and reassortment are key mechanisms by which influenza A virus acquires virulence factors. To evaluate the role of the viral polymerase replication machinery in producing virulent pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza viruses, we generated various polymerase point mutants (PB2, 627K/701N; PB1, expression of PB1-F2 protein; and PA, 97I) and reassortant viruses with various sources of influenza viruses by reverse genetics. Although the point mutations produced no significant change in pathogenicity, reassortment between the pandemic A/California/04/09 (CA04, H1N1) and current human and animal influenza viruses produced variants possessing a broad spectrum of pathogenicity in the mouse model. Although most polymerase reassortants had attenuated pathogenicity (including those containing seasonal human H3N2 and high-pathogenicity H5N1 virus segments) compared to that of the parental CA04 (H1N1) virus, some recombinants had significantly enhanced virulence. Unexpectedly, one of the five highly virulent reassortants contained a A/Swine/Korea/JNS06/04(H3N2)-like PB2 gene with no known virulence factors; the other four had mammalian-passaged avian-like genes encoding PB2 featuring 627K, PA featuring 97I, or both. Overall, the reassorted polymerase complexes were only moderately compatible for virus rescue, probably because of disrupted molecular interactions involving viral or host proteins. Although we observed close cooperation between PB2 and PB1 from similar virus origins, we found that PA appears to be crucial in maintaining viral gene functions in the context of the CA04 (H1N1) virus. These observations provide helpful insights into the pathogenic potential of reassortant influenza viruses composed of the pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza virus and prevailing human or animal influenza viruses that could emerge in the future.
Project description:H9N2 avian influenza viruses are present in poultry worldwide. These viruses are considered to have pandemic potential, because recent isolates can recognize human-type receptor and several sporadic human infections have been reported. In this study, we aimed to identify mutations related to mammalian adaptation of H9N2 influenza virus. We found that mouse-adapted viruses had several mutations in hemagglutinin (HA), PB2, PA, and PB1. Among the detected mutations, PB1-K577E was a novel mutation that had not been previously reported to involve mammalian adaptation. A recombinant H9N2 virus bearing only the PB1-K577E mutation showed enhanced pathogenicity in mice, with increased virus titers in nasal turbinates compared to that in mice infected with the wild-type virus. In addition, the PB1-K577E mutation increased virus polymerase activity in human cell culture at a lower temperature. These data suggest that the PB1-K577E mutation is a novel pathogenicity determinant of H9N2 virus in mice and could be a signature for mammalian adaptation.
Project description:Typical avian influenza A viruses do not replicate efficiently in humans. The molecular basis of host range restriction and adaptation of avian influenza A viruses to a new host species is still not completely understood. Genetic determinants of host range adaptation have been found on the polymerase complex (PB1, PB2, and PA) as well as on the nucleoprotein (NP). These four viral proteins constitute the minimal set for transcription and replication of influenza viral RNA. It is widely documented that in human cells, avian-derived influenza A viral polymerase is poorly active, but despite extensive study, the reason for this blockade is not known. We monitored the activity of influenza A viral polymerases in heterokaryons formed between avian (DF1) and human (293T) cells. We have discovered that a positive factor present in avian cells enhances the activity of the avian influenza virus polymerase. We found no evidence for the existence of an inhibitory factor for avian virus polymerase in human cells, and we suggest, instead, that the restriction of avian influenza virus polymerases in human cells is the consequence of the absence or the low expression of a compatible positive cofactor. Finally, our results strongly suggest that the well-known adaptative mutation E627K on viral protein PB2 facilitates the ability of a human positive factor to enhance replication of influenza virus in human cells.
Project description:The influenza virus polymerase is formed by the PB1, PB2 and PA subunits and is required for virus transcription and replication in the nucleus of infected cells. As PB2 is a relevant host-range determinant we expressed a TAP-tagged PB2 in human cells and isolated intracellular complexes. Alpha-importin was identified as a PB2-associated factor by proteomic analyses. To study the relevance of this interaction for virus replication we mutated the PB2 NLS and analysed the phenotype of mutant subunits, polymerase complexes and RNPs. While mutant PB2 proteins showed reduced nuclear accumulation, they formed polymerase complexes normally when co expressed with PB1 and PA. However, mutant RNPs generated with a viral CAT replicon showed up to hundred-fold reduced CAT accumulation. Rescue of nuclear localisation of mutant PB2 by insertion of an additional SV40 TAg-derived NLS did not revert the mutant phenotype of RNPs. Furthermore, determination of recombinant RNP accumulation in vivo indicated that PB2 NLS mutations drastically reduced virus RNA replication. These results indicate that, above and beyond its role in nuclear accumulation, PB2 interaction with alpha-importins is required for virus RNA replication. To ascertain whether PB2-alpha-importin binding could contribute to the adaptation of H5N1 avian viruses to man, their association in vivo was determined. Human alpha importin isoforms associated efficiently to PB2 protein of an H3N2 human virus but bound to diminished and variable extents to PB2 from H5N1 avian or human strains, suggesting that the function of alpha importin during RNA replication is important for the adaptation of avian viruses to the human host.