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Emerg Infect Dis. 2006 Sep;12(9):1353-60.

Genomic signatures of human versus avian influenza A viruses.

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  • 1Chang Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan, Republic of China.


Position-specific entropy profiles created from scanning 306 human and 95 avian influenza A viral genomes showed that 228 of 4591 amino acid residues yielded significant differences between these 2 viruses. We subsequently used 15,785 protein sequences from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) to assess the robustness of these signatures and obtained 52 "species-associated" positions. Specific mutations on those points may enable an avian influenza virus to become a human virus. Many of these signatures are found in NP, PA, and PB2 genes (viral ribonucleoproteins [RNPs]) and are mostly located in the functional domains related to RNP-RNP interactions that are important for viral replication. Upon inspecting 21 human-isolated avian influenza viral genomes from NCBI, we found 19 that exhibited > or =1 species-associated residue changes; 7 of them contained > or =2 substitutions. Histograms based on pairwise sequence comparison showed that NP disjointed most between human and avian influenza viruses, followed by PA and PB2.

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