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J Gen Virol. 2014 Apr;95(Pt 4):779-86. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.061721-0. Epub 2014 Jan 6.

The PB2 E627K mutation contributes to the high polymerase activity and enhanced replication of H7N9 influenza virus.

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  • 1Key Laboratory of Molecular Virology & Immunology, Institut Pasteur of Shanghai, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200031, PR China.


Human infection by H7N9 influenza virus was first identified in China in March 2013. As of 12 August 2013, a total of 135 documented cases with 44 fatalities had been reported. Genetic and laboratory analyses of the novel H7N9 viruses isolated from patients indicate that these viruses possess several polymerase gene mutations previously associated with human adaptation and potential pandemic capabilities. However, the function of these mutations in the emergence and pathogenicity of the viruses is not well known. In this study, we demonstrate that the PB2 E627K mutation, which occurs in over 70 % of the H7N9 patient isolates, promotes the replication of H7N9 virus by enhancing PB2 polymerase activity and enhances virulence in mice. Our results show the PB2 E627K mutation has played an important role in this H7N9 influenza outbreak and in the pathogenicity of the H7N9 virus.

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