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Vaccine. 2012 Jun 13;30(28):4144-52. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2012.04.073. Epub 2012 May 1.

Increased hemagglutinin content in a reassortant 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus with chimeric neuraminidase containing donor A/Puerto Rico/8/34 virus transmembrane and stalk domains.

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Laboratory of Respiratory Viral Diseases, Division of Viral Products, Office of Vaccine Research and Review, United States Food and Drug Administration, Bethesda, MD, USA.


The glycoproteins, heamagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) of influenza virus confer host protective immune responses during vaccination, which is the most effective approach for preventing influenza-associated morbidity and mortality. Since the functional balance between the HA and NA proteins may affect viral receptor binding and replication, a pandemic influenza A virus (H1N1 pdm09), strain A/Texas/05/2009, was optimized to elevate its HA antigen content by modifying the NA gene. In this study, we have constructed two 2:6 reassortant viruses between pdmH1N1 (A/Texas/05/2009) and A/Puerto Rico/8/34 (PR8), in which the NA gene of A/Texas/05/2009 was modified to contain part of the NA gene from PR8. One chimeric NA virus has the PR8 transmembrane (TM) region (HNtm 2:6) and the other contains both the PR8 NA TM and stem regions (HNst 2:6). Using quantitative reverse phase-HPLC (RP-HPLC) analysis, we observed that the HNst2:6 virus contains a higher HA1 content than HN2:6 wild type. In addition, this mutant virus displays a higher HA1 to nucleoprotein (NP) ratio, based on gel electrophoresis densitometry analysis. Furthermore, the neuraminidase activity of purified HNst 2:6 virus is approximately 30% lower than that of HN2:6 virus, which is suggestive of a lower incorporation of NA into the viral envelope. Therefore, we propose that the reduction of NA packaging in the virion may lead to a compensatory increase of HA. Such an improvement in HA yield is possibly beneficial to H1N1 pdm09 vaccine production.

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