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PLoS One. 2011;6(6):e20698. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0020698. Epub 2011 Jun 15.

Genomic polymorphism of the pandemic A (H1N1) influenza viruses correlates with viral replication, virulence, and pathogenicity in vitro and in vivo.

Author information

1
Institute of Laboratory Animal Sciences, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Comparative Medicine Center, Peking Union Medical College, Key Laboratory of Human Disease Comparative Medicine, Ministry of Health, Beijing, China.

Abstract

The novel pandemic A (H1N1) virus was first identified in Mexico in April 2009 and quickly spread worldwide. Like all influenzas, the H1N1 strain-specific properties of replication, virulence, and pathogenicity are a result of the particular genomic sequence and concerted expression of multiple genes. Thus, specific mutations may support increased virulence and may be useful as biomarkers of potential threat to human health. We performed comparative genomic analysis of ten strains of the 2009 pandemic A (H1N1) influenza viruses to determine whether genotypes associated with clinical phenotypes, which ranged from mild to severe illness and up to lethal. Virus replication capacity was tested for each strain in vitro using cultured epithelial cells, while virulence and pathogenicity were investigated in vivo using the BALB/c mouse model. The results indicated that A/Sichuan/1/2009 strain had significantly higher replication ability and virulence than the other strains, and five unique non-synonymous mutations were identified in important gene-encoding sequences. These mutations led to amino acid substitutions in HA (L32I), PA (A343T), PB1 (K353R and T566A), and PB2 (T471M), and may be critical molecular determinants for replication, virulence, and pathogenicity. Our results suggested that the replication capacity in vitro and virulence in vivo of the 2009 pandemic A (H1N1) viruses were not associated with the clinical phenotypes. This study offers new insights into the transmission and evolution of the 2009 pandemic A (H1N1) virus.

PMID:
21698272
PMCID:
PMC3115934
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0020698
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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