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J Virol. 2012 Oct;86(19):10558-70. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00985-12. Epub 2012 Jul 18.

Comparable fitness and transmissibility between oseltamivir-resistant pandemic 2009 and seasonal H1N1 influenza viruses with the H275Y neuraminidase mutation.

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  • 1Centre of Influenza Research, LKS Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.


Limited antiviral compounds are available for the control of influenza, and the emergence of resistant variants would further narrow the options for defense. The H275Y neuraminidase (NA) mutation, which confers resistance to oseltamivir carboxylate, has been identified among the seasonal H1N1 and 2009 pandemic influenza viruses; however, those H275Y resistant variants demonstrated distinct epidemiological outcomes in humans. Specifically, dominance of the H275Y variant over the oseltamivir-sensitive viruses was only reported for a seasonal H1N1 variant during 2008-2009. Here, we systematically analyze the effect of the H275Y NA mutation on viral fitness and transmissibility of A(H1N1)pdm09 and seasonal H1N1 influenza viruses. The NA genes from A(H1N1)pdm09 A/California/04/09 (CA04), seasonal H1N1 A/New Caledonia/20/1999 (NewCal), and A/Brisbane/59/2007 (Brisbane) were individually introduced into the genetic background of CA04. The H275Y mutation led to reduced NA enzyme activity, an increased K(m) for 3'-sialylactose or 6'-sialylactose, and decreased infectivity in mucin-secreting human airway epithelial cells compared to the oseltamivir-sensitive wild-type counterparts. Attenuated pathogenicity in both RG-CA04(NA-H275Y) and RG-CA04 × Brisbane(NA-H275Y) viruses was observed in ferrets compared to RG-CA04 virus, although the transmissibility was minimally affected. In parallel experiments using recombinant Brisbane viruses differing by hemagglutinin and NA, comparable direct contact and respiratory droplet transmissibilities were observed among RG-NewCal(HA,NA), RG-NewCal(HA,NA-H275Y), RG-Brisbane(HA,NA-H275Y), and RG-NewCal(HA) × Brisbane(NA-H275Y) viruses. Our results demonstrate that, despite the H275Y mutation leading to a minor reduction in viral fitness, the transmission potentials of three different antigenic strains carrying this mutation were comparable in the naïve ferret model.

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