Influenza A virus PB1-F2 protein prolongs viral shedding in chickens lengthening the transmission window.
ABSTRACT: Avian influenza is a significant economic burden on the poultry industry in geographical regions where it is enzootic. It also poses a public health concern when avian influenza subtypes infect humans, often with high mortality. Understanding viral genetic factors which positively contribute to influenza A virus (IAV) fitness - infectivity, spread and pathogenesis - is of great importance both for human and livestock health. PB1-F2 is a small accessory protein encoded by IAV and in mammalian hosts has been implicated in a wide range of functions that contribute to increased pathogenesis. In the avian host, the protein has been understudied despite high-level full-length conservation in avian IAV isolates, which is in contrast to the truncations of the PB1-F2 length frequently found in mammalian host isolates. Here we report that the presence of a full-length PB1-F2 protein, from a low pathogenicity H9N2 avian influenza virus, prolongs infectious virus shedding from directly inoculated chickens, thereby enhancing transmission of the virus by lengthening the transmission window to contact birds. As well as extending transmission, the presence of a full-length PB1-F2 suppresses pathogenicity evidenced by an increased minimum lethal dose in embryonated chicken eggs and increasing survival in directly infected birds when compared to a virus lacking an ORF for PB1-F2. We propose that there is a positive pressure to maintain a full-length functional PB1-F2 protein upon infection of avian hosts as it contributes to the effective transmission of IAV in the field.
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: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.
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: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: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.
Project description:Pigs are evidently more resistant to avian than swine influenza A viruses, mediated in part through frontline epithelial cells and alveolar macrophages (AM). Although porcine AM (PAM) are crucial in influenza virus control, their mode of control is unclear. To gain insight into the possible role of PAM in the mediation of avian influenza virus resistance, we compared the host effects and replication of two avian (H2N3 and H6N1) and three mammalian (swine H1N1, human H1N1 and pandemic H1N1) influenza viruses in PAM. We found that PAM were readily susceptible to initial infection with all five avian and mammalian influenza viruses but only avian viruses caused early and extensive apoptosis (by 6 h of infection) resulting in reduced virus progeny and moderated pro-inflammation. Full length viral PB1-F2 present only in avian influenza viruses is a virulence factor that targets AM for mitochondrial-associated apoptotic cell death. With the use of reverse genetics on an avian H5N1 virus, we found that full length PB1-F2 contributed to increased apoptosis and pro-inflammation but not to reduced virus replication. Taken together, we propose that early apoptosis of PAM limits the spread of avian influenza viruses and that PB1-F2 could play a contributory role in the process.
Project description:PB1-F2 protein, expressed from an alternative reading frame of most influenza A virus (IAV) PB1 segments, may possess specific residues associated with enhanced inflammation (L62, R75, R79, and L82) and cytotoxicity (I68, L69, and V70). These residues were shown to increase the pathogenicity of primary viral and secondary bacterial infections in a mouse model. In contrast to human seasonal influenza strains, virulence-associated residues are present in PB1-F2 proteins from pandemic H1N1 1918, H2N2 1957, and H3N2 1968, and highly pathogenic H5N1 strains, suggesting their contribution to viruses' pathogenic phenotypes. Non-human influenza strains may act as donors of virulent PB1-F2 proteins. Previously, avian influenza strains were identified as a potential source of inflammatory, but not cytotoxic, PB1-F2 residues. Here, we analyze the frequency of virulence-associated residues in PB1-F2 sequences from IAVs circulating in mammalian species in close contact with humans: pigs, horses, and dogs. All four inflammatory residues were found in PB1-F2 proteins from these viruses. Among cytotoxic residues, I68 was the most common and was especially prevalent in equine and canine IAVs. Historically, PB1-F2 from equine (about 75%) and canine (about 20%) IAVs were most likely to have combinations of the highest numbers of residues associated with inflammation and cytotoxicity, compared to about 7% of swine IAVs. Our analyses show that, in addition to birds, pigs, horses, and dogs are potentially important sources of pathogenic PB1-F2 variants. There is a need for surveillance of IAVs with genetic markers of virulence that may be emerging from these reservoirs in order to improve pandemic preparedness and response.
Project description:Specific residues of influenza A virus (IAV) PB1-F2 proteins may enhance inflammation or cytotoxicity. In a series of studies, we evaluated the function of these virulence-associated residues in the context of different IAV subtypes in mice. Here, we demonstrate that, as with the previously assessed pandemic 1968 (H3N2) IAV, PB1-F2 inflammatory residues increase the virulence of H1N1 IAV, suggesting that this effect might be a universal feature. Combining both inflammatory and cytotoxic residues in PB1-F2 enhanced virulence further, compared to either motif alone. Residues from these virulent motifs have been present in natural isolates from human seasonal IAV of all subtypes, but there has been a trend toward a gradual reduction in the number of virulent residues over time. However, human IAV of swine and avian origin tend to have more virulent residues than do the human-adapted seasonal strains, raising the possibility that donation of PB1 segments from these zoonotic viruses may increase the severity of some seasonal human strains. Our data suggest the value of surveillance of virulent residues in both human and animal IAV to predict the severity of influenza season.
Project description:The recent sporadic infections of humans in China with previously unrecognized avian influenza A virus of the H7N9 subtype (A(H7N9)) have caused concern. The aim is to find out the epidemiological and molecular analysis of the PB1-F2 proteins in H7N9 influenza viruses, in Jiangsu province. Sequences were obtained from GISAID database. Data were analyzed by using Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis software and Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo method. From March 1, 2013, to May 31, 2014, 53 patients were confirmed to be infected with the H7N9 virus; one was a retrospective case in Jiangsu province. 38 sequences of PB1 in H7N9 of Jiangsu were obtained from the GISAID online and were then divided into three lineages. Of these sequences, 4 sequences and 3 sequences encode an N-terminally truncated PB1-F2 (52aa)polypeptide and C-terminally truncated PB1-F2 (76aa) polypeptide, respectively. The remaining sequences encode a full-length PB1-F2 (90aa). We estimated a mean evolutionary rate of 3.053×10(-3)?subs/site/year (95% HPD: 2.021×10(-3)-4.051×10(-3)). The site-by-site analysis of selection pressure analysis revealed positively and negatively (12, 3), respectively, selected sites. Influenza A (H7N9) virus adapting into new host, PB1-F2 of H7N9, might be faced with higher selection pressures.
Project description:The influenza A virus (IAV) PB1-F2 protein is a virulence factor contributing to the pathogenesis observed during IAV infections in mammals. In this study, using a mouse model, we compared the host response associated with PB1-F2 with an early transcriptomic signature that was previously associated with neutrophils and consecutively fatal IAV infections. This allowed us to show that PB1-F2 is partly involved in neutrophil-related mechanisms leading to death. Using neutropenic mice, we confirmed that the harmful effect of PB1-F2 is due to an excessive inflammation mediated by an increased neutrophil mobilization. We identified the downstream effects of this PB1-F2-exacerbated neutrophil recruitment. PB1-F2 had no impact on the lymphocyte recruitment in the airways at day 8 pi. However, functional genomics analysis and flow cytometry in broncho-alveolar lavages at 4 days pi revealed that PB1-F2 induced a NK cells deficiency. Thus, our results identify PB1-F2 as an important immune disruptive factor during the IAV infection.