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J Virol. 1994 Dec;68(12):7684-8.

Evaluation of the genetic stability of the temperature-sensitive PB2 gene mutation of the influenza A/Ann Arbor/6/60 cold-adapted vaccine virus.

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  • 1Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


A single-gene reassortant bearing the PB2 gene of the A/Ann Arbor/6/60 cold-adapted virus in the background of the A/Korea/82 (H3N2) wild-type virus is a temperature-sensitive (ts) virus with an in vitro shutoff temperature of 38 degrees C. A single mutation at amino acid (aa) at 265 (Asp-Ser) of the PB2 protein is responsible for the ts phenotype. This ts single-gene PB2 reassortant virus was serially passaged at elevated temperatures in Madin-Darby canine kidney cells to generate ts+ phenotypic revertant viruses. Four ts+ phenotypically revertant viruses were derived independently, and each possessed a shutoff temperature for replication in vitro of > 40 degrees C. Each of the four phenotypically revertant viruses replicated efficiently in the upper and lower respiratory tracts of mice and hamsters, unlike the PB2 single-gene reassortant virus, confirming that the ts phenotype was responsible for the attenuation of this virus in rodents. Mating the ts+ revertants with wild-type virus yielded ts progeny in high frequency, indicating that the loss of ts phenotype was due to a suppressor mutation which was mapped to the PA gene in each of the four independently derived ts phenotypic revertants. Nucleotide sequence analysis confirmed the absence of new mutations on the PB2 gene and the presence of predicted amino acid changes in the PA proteins of the revertant viruses. These studies suggest that single amino acid changes at aa 245 (Glu-Lys) or 347 (Asp-Asn) of the PA protein can completely suppress the ts and attenuation phenotypes specified by the Asp-Ser mutation at aa 265 of the PB2 protein of the A/Ann Arbor/6/60 cold-adapted virus.

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