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Virology. 2008 Jul 5;376(2):323-9. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2008.03.036. Epub 2008 May 5.

Genetically destined potentials for N-linked glycosylation of influenza virus hemagglutinin.

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Department of Global Epidemiology, Hokkaido University Research Center for Zoonosis Control, Sapporo 001-0020, Japan.


The addition of oligosaccharide side chains to influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA) is believed to facilitate viral escape from immune pressure in the human population. To determine the implicit potentials for acquisition of N-linked glycosylation, we analyzed the genetic background of 16 subtypes of avian influenza virus, some of which may be potential pandemic viruses in the future. We found a significant difference among HA subtypes in their genomic sequences to produce N-glycosylation sites. Notably, recently circulating avian influenza viruses of the H5 and H9 subtypes may have rather greater capacities to undergo mutations associated with glycosylation of HA than past pandemic viruses. We hypothesize that influenza viruses maintained in natural reservoirs could have different potentials for sustained circulation, depending on their HA subtypes, if introduced into the human population.

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