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Nat Commun. 2013;4:2369. doi: 10.1038/ncomms3369.

Visualizing influenza virus infection in living mice.

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1] State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Disease, Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510530, China [2] The First Affiliated Hospital, Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou 510210, China [3].


Preventing and treating influenza virus infection remain a challenge because of incomplete understanding of the host-pathogen interactions, limited therapeutics and lack of a universal vaccine. So far, methods for monitoring the course of infection with influenza virus in real time in living animals are lacking. Here we report the visualization of influenza viral infection in living mice using an engineered replication-competent influenza A virus carrying luciferase reporter gene. After intranasal inoculation, bioluminescence can be detected in the chest and nasopharyngeal passage of living mice. The intensity of bioluminescence in the chest correlates with the dosage of infection and the viral load in the lung. Bioluminescence in the chest of infected mice diminishes on antiviral treatment. This work provides a novel approach that enables real-time study of influenza virus infection and effects of antiviral therapeutics in living animals.

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