Study of the host specificity of PB1-F2-associated virulence.
ABSTRACT: Influenza A viruses cause important diseases in both human and animal. The PB1-F2 protein is a virulence factor expressed by some influenza viruses. Its deleterious action for the infected host is mostly described in mammals, while the available information is scarce in avian hosts. In this work, we compared the effects of PB1-F2 in avian and mammalian hosts by taking advantage of the zoonotic capabilities of an avian H7N1 virus. In vitro, the H7N1 virus did not behave differently when PB1-F2 was deficient while a H3N2 virus devoid of PB1-F2 was clearly less inflammatory. Likewise, when performing in vivo challenges of either chickens or embryonated eggs, with the wild-type or the PB1-F2 deficient virus, no difference could be observed in terms of mortality, host response or tropism. PB1-F2 therefore does not appear to play a major role as a virulence factor in the avian host. However, when infecting NF-κB-luciferase reporter mice with the H7N1 viruses, a massive PB1-F2-dependent inflammation was quantified, highlighting the host specificity of PB1-F2 virulence. Surprisingly, a chimeric 7:1 H3N2 virus harboring an H7N1-origin segment 2 (i.e. expressing the avian PB1-F2) induced a milder inflammatory response than its PB1-F2-deficient counterpart. This result shows that the pro-inflammatory activity of PB1-F2 is governed by complex mechanisms involving components from both the virus and its infected host. Thus, a mere exchange of segment 2 between strains is not sufficient to transmit the deleterious character of PB1-F2.
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: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: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: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: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: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: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:Human infection with avian influenza A (H5N1) and (H7N9) viruses causes severe respiratory diseases. PB1-F2 protein is a critical virulence factor that suppresses early type I interferon response, but the mechanism of its action in relation to high pathogenicity is not well understood. Here we show that PB1-F2 protein of H7N9 virus is a particularly potent suppressor of antiviral signaling through formation of protein aggregates on mitochondria and inhibition of TRIM31-MAVS interaction, leading to prevention of K63-polyubiquitination and aggregation of MAVS. Unaggregated MAVS accumulated on fragmented mitochondria is prone to degradation by both proteasomal and lysosomal pathways. These properties are proprietary to PB1-F2 of H7N9 virus but not shared by its counterpart in WSN virus. A recombinant virus deficient of PB1-F2 of H7N9 induces more interferon ? in infected cells. Our findings reveal a subtype-specific mechanism for destabilization of MAVS and suppression of interferon response by PB1-F2 of H7N9 virus.
Project description:<h4>Unlabelled</h4>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.<h4>Importance</h4>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.