Differential contribution of PB1-F2 to the virulence of highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza A virus in mammalian and avian species.
ABSTRACT: Highly pathogenic avian influenza A viruses (HPAIV) of the H5N1 subtype occasionally transmit from birds to humans and can cause severe systemic infections in both hosts. PB1-F2 is an alternative translation product of the viral PB1 segment that was initially characterized as a pro-apoptotic mitochondrial viral pathogenicity factor. A full-length PB1-F2 has been present in all human influenza pandemic virus isolates of the 20(th) century, but appears to be lost evolutionarily over time as the new virus establishes itself and circulates in the human host. In contrast, the open reading frame (ORF) for PB1-F2 is exceptionally well-conserved in avian influenza virus isolates. Here we perform a comparative study to show for the first time that PB1-F2 is a pathogenicity determinant for HPAIV (A/Viet Nam/1203/2004, VN1203 (H5N1)) in both mammals and birds. In a mammalian host, the rare N66S polymorphism in PB1-F2 that was previously described to be associated with high lethality of the 1918 influenza A virus showed increased replication and virulence of a recombinant VN1203 H5N1 virus, while deletion of the entire PB1-F2 ORF had negligible effects. Interestingly, the N66S substituted virus efficiently invades the CNS and replicates in the brain of Mx+/+ mice. In ducks deletion of PB1-F2 clearly resulted in delayed onset of clinical symptoms and systemic spreading of virus, while variations at position 66 played only a minor role in pathogenesis. These data implicate PB1-F2 as an important pathogenicity factor in ducks independent of sequence variations at position 66. Our data could explain why PB1-F2 is conserved in avian influenza virus isolates and only impacts pathogenicity in mammals when containing certain amino acid motifs such as the rare N66S polymorphism.
Project description:PB1-F2 protein, the 11th influenza A virus (IAV) protein, is considered to play an important role in primary influenza virus infection and postinfluenza secondary bacterial pneumonia in mice. The functional role of PB1-F2 has been reported to be a strain-specific and host-specific phenomenon. Its precise contribution to the pathogenicity and transmission of influenza virus in mammalian host, such as swine, and avian hosts, such as turkeys, remain largely unknown. In this study, we explored the role of PB1-F2 protein of triple-reassortant (TR) H3N2 swine influenza virus (SIV) in pigs and turkeys. Using the eight-plasmid reverse genetics system, we rescued wild-type SIV A/swine/Minnesota/1145/2007 (H3N2) (SIV 1145-WT), a PB1-F2 knockout mutant (SIV 1145-KO), and its N66S variant (SIV 1145-N66S). The ablation of PB1-F2 in SIV 1145 modulated early-stage apoptosis but did not affect the viral replication in swine alveolar macrophage cells. In pigs, PB1-F2 expression did not affect nasal shedding, lung viral load, immunophenotypes, and lung pathology. On the other hand, in turkeys, SIV 1145-KO infected poults, and its in-contacts developed clinical signs earlier than SIV 1145-WT groups and also displayed more extensive histopathological changes in intestine. Further, turkeys infected with SIV 1145-N66S displayed poor infectivity and transmissibility. The more extensive histopathologic changes in intestine and relative transmission advantage observed in turkeys infected with SIV 1145-KO need to be further explored. Taken together, these results emphasize the host-specific roles of PB1-F2 in the pathogenicity and transmission of IAV.Novel triple-reassortant H3N2 swine influenza virus emerged in 1998 and spread rapidly among the North American swine population. Subsequently, it showed an increased propensity to reassort, generating a range of reassortants. Unlike classical swine influenza virus, TR SIV produces a full-length PB1-F2 protein, which is considered an important virulence marker of IAV pathogenicity. Our study demonstrated that the expression of PB1-F2 does not impact the pathogenicity of TR H3N2 SIV in pigs. On the other hand, deletion of PB1-F2 caused TR H3N2 SIV to induce clinical disease early and resulted in effective transmission among the turkey poults. Our study emphasizes the continuing need to better understand the virulence determinants for IAV in intermediate hosts, such as swine and turkeys, and highlights the host-specific role of PB1-F2 protein.
Project description:PB1-F2 is a 90 amino acid protein that is expressed from the +1 open reading frame in the PB1 gene of some influenza A viruses and has been shown to contribute to viral pathogenicity. Notably, a serine at position 66 (66S) in PB1-F2 is known to increase virulence compared to an isogenic virus with an asparagine (66N) at this position. Recently, we found that an influenza virus expressing PB1-F2 N66S suppresses interferon (IFN)-stimulated genes in mice. To characterize this phenomenon, we employed several in vitro assays. Overexpression of the A/Puerto Rico/8/1934 (PR8) PB1-F2 protein in 293T cells decreased RIG-I mediated activation of an IFN-β reporter and secretion of IFN as determined by bioassay. Of note, the PB1-F2 N66S protein showed enhanced IFN antagonism activity compared to PB1-F2 wildtype. Similar observations were found in the context of viral infection with a PR8 PB1-F2 N66S virus. To understand the relationship between NS1, a previously described influenza virus protein involved in suppression of IFN synthesis, and PB1-F2, we investigated the induction of IFN when NS1 and PB1-F2 were co-expressed in an in vitro transfection system. In this assay we found that PB1-F2 N66S further reduced IFN induction in the presence of NS1. By inducing the IFN-β reporter at different levels in the signaling cascade, we found that PB1-F2 inhibited IFN production at the level of the mitochondrial antiviral signaling protein (MAVS). Furthermore, immunofluorescence studies revealed that PB1-F2 co-localizes with MAVS. In summary, we have characterized the anti-interferon function of PB1-F2 and we suggest that this activity contributes to the enhanced pathogenicity seen with PB1-F2 N66S- expressing influenza viruses.
Project description:Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) is a permanent threat due to its capacity to cross species barriers and generate severe infections and high mortality in humans. Recent findings have highlighted the potential role of PB1-F2, a small accessory influenza protein, in the pathogenesis process mediated by HPAIV in mammals. In this study, using a recombinant H5N1 HPAIV (wt) and its PB1-F2-deleted mutant (?F2), we studied the effects of PB1-F2 in a chicken model. Unexpectedly, when using low inoculation dose we observed that the wt-infected chickens had a higher survival rate than the ?F2-infected chickens, a feature that contrasts with what is usually observed in mammals. High inoculation dose had similar mortality rate for both viruses, and comparison of the bio-distribution of the two viruses indicated that the expression of PB1-F2 allows a better spreading of the virus within chicken embryos. Transcriptomic profiles of lungs and blood cells were characterized at two days post-infection in chickens inoculated with the wild type (wt) or the ?F2 mutant viruses. In lungs, the expression of PB1-F2 during the infection induced pathways related to calcium signaling and repressed a large panel of immunological functions. In blood cells, PB1-F2 was associated with a gene signature specific for mitochondrial dysfunction and down-modulated leucocytes activation. Finally we compared the effect of PB1-F2 in lungs of chickens and mice. We identified that gene signature associated to tissue damages is a PB1-F2 feature shared by the two species; by contrast, the early inhibition of immune response mediated by PB1-F2 observed in chickens is not seen in mice. In summary, our data suggest that PB1-F2 expression deeply affect the immune response in chickens in a way that may attenuate pathogenicity at low infection dose, a feature differing from what was previously observed in mammal species.
Project description:The PB1-F2 protein encoded by influenza A viruses can contribute to virulence, a feature that is dependent of its sequence polymorphism. Whereas PB1-F2 from some H1N1 viruses were shown to exacerbate the inflammatory response within the airways, the contribution of PB1-F2 to highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) virulence in mammals remains poorly described. Using a H5N1 HPAIV strain isolated from duck and its PB1-F2 knocked-out mutant, we characterized the dynamics of PB1-F2-associated host response in a murine model of lethal pneumonia. The mean time of death was 10 days for the two viruses, allowing us to perform global transcriptomic analyses and detailed histological investigations of the infected lungs at multiple time points. At day 2 post-infection (pi), while no histopathological lesion was observed, PB1-F2 expression resulted in a significant inhibition of cellular pathways involved in macrophage activation and in a transcriptomic signature suggesting that it promotes damage to the epithelial barrier. At day 4 pi, the gene profile associated with PB1-F2 expression revealed dysfunctions in NK cells activity. At day 8 pi, PB1-F2 expression was strongly associated with increased transcription of genes encoding chemokines and cytokines implicated in the recruitment of granulocytes, as well as expression of a number of genes encoding enzymes expressed by neutrophils. These transcriptomic data were fully supported by the histopathological analysis of the mice lungs which evidenced more severe inflammatory lesions and enhanced recruitment of neutrophils in the context of PB1-F2 expression, and thus provided a functional corroboration to the insight obtained in this work. In summary, our study shows that PB1-F2 of H5N1 HPAIV markedly influences the expression of the host transcriptome in a different way than its H1N1 counterparts: H5N1 PB1-F2 first delays the initial immune response but increases the pulmonary inflammatory response during the late stages of infection.
Project description:Highly pathogenic influenza A viruses (IAV) from avian hosts were first reported to directly infect humans 20 years ago. However, such infections are rare events, and our understanding of factors promoting or restricting zoonotic transmission is still limited. One accessory protein of IAV, PB1-F2, was associated with pathogenicity of pandemic and zoonotic IAV. This short (90-amino-acid) peptide does not harbor an enzymatic function. We thus identified host factors interacting with H5N1 PB1-F2, which could explain its importance for virulence. PB1-F2 binds to HCLS1-associated protein X1 (HAX-1), a recently identified host restriction factor of the PA subunit of IAV polymerase complexes. We demonstrate that the PA of a mammal-adapted H1N1 IAV is resistant to HAX-1 imposed restriction, while the PA of an avian-origin H5N1 IAV remains sensitive. We also showed HAX-1 sensitivity for PAs of A/Brevig Mission/1/1918 (H1N1) and A/Shanghai/1/2013 (H7N9), two avian-origin zoonotic IAV. Inhibition of H5N1 polymerase by HAX-1 can be alleviated by its PB1-F2 through direct competition. Accordingly, replication of PB1-F2-deficient H5N1 IAV is attenuated in the presence of large amounts of HAX-1. Mammal-adapted H1N1 and H3N2 viruses do not display this dependence on PB1-F2 for efficient replication in the presence of HAX-1. We propose that PB1-F2 plays a key role in zoonotic transmission of avian H5N1 IAV into humans.IMPORTANCE Aquatic and shore birds are the natural reservoir of influenza A viruses from which the virus can jump into a variety of bird and mammal host species, including humans. H5N1 influenza viruses are a good model for this process. They pose an ongoing threat to human and animal health due to their high mortality rates. However, it is currently unclear what restricts these interspecies jumps on the host side or what promotes them on the virus side. Here we show that a short viral peptide, PB1-F2, helps H5N1 bird influenza viruses to overcome a human restriction factor of the viral polymerase complex HAX-1. Interestingly, we found that human influenza A virus polymerase complexes are already adapted to HAX-1 and do not require this function of PB1-F2. We thus propose that a functional full-length PB1-F2 supports direct transmission of bird viruses into humans.
Project description:Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) is a permanent threat due to its capacity to cross species barriers and generate severe infections and high mortality in humans. Recent findings have highlighted the potential role of PB1-F2, a small accessory influenza protein, in the pathogenesis process mediated by HPAIV in mammals. In this study, using a recombinant H5N1 HPAIV (wt) and its PB1-F2-deleted mutant (ΔF2), we studied the effects of PB1-F2 in a chicken model. Unexpectedly, when using low inoculation dose we observed that the wt-infected chickens had a higher survival rate than the ΔF2-infected chickens, a feature that contrasts with what is usually observed in mammals. High inoculation dose had similar mortality rate for both viruses, and comparison of the bio-distribution of the two viruses indicated that the expression of PB1-F2 allows a better spreading of the virus within chicken embryos. Transcriptomic profiles of lungs and blood cells were characterized at two days post-infection in chickens inoculated with the wild type (wt) or the ΔF2 mutant viruses. In lungs, the expression of PB1-F2 during the infection induced pathways related to calcium signaling and repressed a large panel of immunological functions. In blood cells, PB1-F2 was associated to a gene signature specific for mitochondrial dysfunction and down-modulated leucocytes activation. Finally we compared the effect of PB1-F2 in lungs of chickens and mice. We identified that gene signature associated to tissue damages is a PB1-F2 feature shared by the two species; by contrast, the early inhibition of immune response mediated by PB1-F2 observed in chickens is not seen in mice. In summary, our data suggest that PB1-F2 expression deeply affect the immune host response in chickens in a way that may attenuate pathogenicity, a feature differing from what was previously observed in mammal species. Three-condition experiment, virus-infected (wt or ΔF2) vs. Mock-infected chickens. Biological replicates: 2x5 control replicates, 5 wt replicates, 5 ΔF2 replicates.
Project description:Although several studies have exploited the effects of PB1-F2 in swine influenza viruses, its contribution to the pathogenicity of swine influenza viruses remains unclear. Herein, we investigated the effects of PB1-F2 on the pathogenicity of influenza virus using a virulent H1N1 A/swine/Kansas/77778/2007 (KS07) virus, which expresses a full-length PB1-F2, in mice and pigs. Using reverse genetics, we generated the wild-type KS07 (KS07_WT), a PB1-F2 knockout mutant (KS07_K/O) and its N66S variant (KS07_N66S). KS07_K/O showed similar pathogenicity in mice to the KS07_WT, whereas KS07_N66S displayed enhanced virulence when compared to the other two viruses. KS07_WT exhibited more efficient replication in lungs and nasal shedding in infected pigs than the other two viruses. Pigs infected with the KS07_WT had higher pulmonary levels of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, IFN-?, IL-6 and IL-8 at 3 and 5 days post-infection, as well as lower levels of IL-2, IL-4 and IL-12 at 1 day post-infection compared to those infected with the KS07_K/O. These results indicate that PB1-F2 modulates KS07 H1N1 virus replication, pathogenicity and innate immune responses in pigs and the single substitution at position 66 (N/S) in the PB1-F2 plays a critical role in virulence in mice. Taken together, our results provide new insights into the effects of PB1-F2 on the virulence of influenza virus in swine and support PB1-F2 as a virulence factor of influenza A virus in a strain- and host-dependent manner.
Project description:PB1-F2 is a multifunctional protein and contributes to the pathogenicity of influenza A viruses. PB1-F2 is known to have strain and cell specific functions. In this study we have investigated the apoptotic and inflammatory responses of PB1-F2 protein from influenza viruses of diverse pathogenicities in A549 lung epithelial cells. Overexpression of PB1-F2 resulted in apoptosis and heightened inflammatory response in A549 cells. Comparison revealed that the response varied with each subtype. PB1-F2 protein from highly pathogenic H5N1 virus induced least apoptosis but maximum inflammatory response. Results indicated that apoptosis was mediated through death receptor ligands TNF? and TRAIL via Caspase 8 activation. Significant induction of cytokines/chemokines CXCL10, CCL5, CCL2, IFN?, and IL-6 was noted in A549 cells transfected with PB1-F2 gene construct of 2008 West Bengal H5N1 virus (H5N1-WB). On the contrary, PB1-F2 construct from 2007 highly pathogenic H5N1 isolate (H5N1-M) with truncated N-terminal region did not evoke as exuberant inflammatory response as the other H5N1-WB with full length PB1-F2, signifying the importance of N-terminal region of PB1-F2. Sequence analysis revealed that PB1-F2 proteins derived from different influenza viruses varied at multiple amino acid positions. The secondary structure prediction showed each of the PB1-F2 proteins had distinct helix-loop-helix structure. Thus, our data substantiate the notion that the contribution of PB1-F2 to influenza pathogenicity is greatly strain specific and involves multiple host factors. This data demonstrates that PB1-F2 protein of influenza A virus, when expressed independently is minimally apoptotic and strongly influences the early host response in A549 cells.
Project description:This study used virological, histological, and global gene expression from an experimental murine model of influenza infection to study the contribution of a specific mutation in the PB1-F2 protein (PB1-F2 N66S) of influenza A to viral pathogenesis. 6-8 week old, wild-type, female, C57Bl/6 mice were inoculated individually with 30 μl (10^4 PFU) of virus (recombinant influenza A/WSN/33 carrying the PB1 gene segment from A/Hong Kong/156/97 (H5N1) or a PB1 mutant recombinant virus resulting in an amino acid change at position 66 in the PB1-F2 protein [N66S]) in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) containing penicillin-streptomycin and bovine serum albumin (PBS-BA-PS). A total of 10^4 PFU of virus was given in all inoculations. Control mice were given PBS-BA-PS. Lung samples were taken for microarray analysis at 12h, 1d, 3d, and 5d post-infection (n=3 animals per group at each time point for virus infected animals; n=2 animals per time point for mock-infected animals).
Project description:Influenza A viruses (IAVs) express the PB1-F2 protein from an alternate reading frame within the PB1 gene segment. The roles of PB1-F2 are not well understood but appear to involve modulation of host cell responses. As shown in previous studies, we find that PB1-F2 proteins of mammalian IAVs frequently have premature stop codons that are expected to cause truncations of the protein, whereas avian IAVs usually express a full-length 90-amino-acid PB1-F2. However, in contrast to other avian IAVs, recent isolates of highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza viruses had a high proportion of PB1-F2 truncations (15% since 2010; 61% of isolates in 2013) due to several independent mutations that have persisted and expanded in circulating viruses. One natural H5N1 IAV containing a mutated PB1-F2 start codon (i.e., lacking ATG) was 1,000-fold more virulent for BALB/c mice than a closely related H5N1 containing intact PB1-F2. In vitro, we detected expression of an in-frame protein (C-terminal PB1-F2) from downstream ATGs in PB1-F2 plasmids lacking the well-conserved ATG start codon. Transient expression of full-length PB1-F2, truncated (24-amino-acid) PB1-F2, and PB1-F2 lacking the initiating ATG in mammalian and avian cells had no effect on cell apoptosis or interferon expression in human lung epithelial cells. Full-length and C-terminal PB1-F2 mutants colocalized with mitochondria in A549 cells. Close monitoring of alterations of PB1-F2 and their frequency in contemporary avian H5N1 viruses should continue, as such changes may be markers for mammalian virulence.Although most avian influenza viruses are harmless for humans, some (such as highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza viruses) are capable of infecting humans and causing severe disease with a high mortality rate. A number of risk factors potentially associated with adaptation to mammalian infection have been noted. Here we demonstrate that the protein PB1-F2 is frequently truncated in recent isolates of highly pathogenic H5N1 viruses. Truncation of PB1-F2 has been proposed to act as an adaptation to mammalian infection. We show that some forms of truncation of PB1-F2 may be associated with increased virulence in mammals. Our data support the assessment of PB1-F2 truncations for genomic surveillance of influenza viruses.