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J Gen Virol. 2013 Jan;94(Pt 1):50-8. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.045153-0. Epub 2012 Oct 10.

Deletion of the C-terminal ESEV domain of NS1 does not affect the replication of a low-pathogenic avian influenza virus H7N1 in ducks and chickens.

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  • 1INRA, UMR 1225, Ecole nationale vétérinaire de Toulouse, Toulouse, France.


Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H7N1 viruses caused a series of epizootics in Italy between 1999 and 2001. The emergence of these HPAI viruses coincided with the deletion of the six amino acids R(225)VESEV(230) at the C terminus of NS1. In order to assess how the truncation of NS1 affected virus replication, we used reverse genetics to generate a wild-type low-pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) H7N1 virus with a 230aa NS1 (H7N1(230)) and a mutant virus with a truncated NS1 (H7N1(224)). The 6aa truncation had no impact on virus replication in duck or chicken cells in vitro. The H7N1(230) and H7N1(224) viruses also replicated to similar levels and induced similar immune responses in ducks or chickens. No significant histological lesions were detected in infected ducks, regardless of the virus inoculated. However, in chickens, the H7N1(230) virus induced a more severe interstitial pneumonia than did the H7N1(224) virus. These findings indicate that the C-terminal extremity of NS1, including the PDZ-binding motif ESEV, is dispensable for efficient replication of an LPAI virus in ducks and chickens, even though it may increase virulence in chickens, as revealed by the intensity of the histological lesions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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