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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1990 May;87(10):3802-5.

Introduction of site-specific mutations into the genome of influenza virus.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029.


We succeeded in rescuing infectious influenza virus by transfecting cells with RNAs derived from specific recombinant DNAs. RNA corresponding to the neuraminidase (NA) gene of influenza A/WSN/33 (WSN) virus was transcribed in vitro from plasmid DNA and, following the addition of purified influenza virus RNA polymerase complex, was transfected into MDBK cells. Superinfection with helper virus lacking the WSN NA gene resulted in the release of virus containing the WSN NA gene. We then introduced five point mutations into the WSN NA gene by cassette mutagenesis of the plasmid DNA. Sequence analysis of the rescued virus revealed that the genome contained all five mutations present in the mutated plasmid. The ability to create viruses with site-specific mutations will allow the engineering of influenza viruses with defined biological properties.

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