Image_1_Acquisition of Innate Inhibitor Resistance and Mammalian Pathogenicity During Egg Adaptation by the H9N2 Avian Influenza Virus.PDF

<p>An H9N2 avian influenza A virus (AIV), A/chicken/Korea/01310/2001 (01310-CE20), was established after 20 passages of influenza A/chicken/Korea/01310/2001 (01310-CE2) virus through embryonated chicken eggs (ECEs). As a result of this process, the virus developed highly replicative and pathogenic traits within the ECEs through adaptive mutations in hemagglutinin (HA: T133N, V216G, and E439D) and neuraminidase (NA: 18-amino acid deletion and E54D). Here, we also established that 01310-CE20 acquired resistance to innate inhibitors present in the egg white during these passages. To investigate the role of egg-adapted mutations in resistance to innate inhibitors, we generated four PR8-derived recombinant viruses using various gene combinations of HA and NA from 01310-CE2 and 01310-CE20 (rH<sub>2</sub>N<sub>2</sub>, rH<sub>2</sub>N<sub>20</sub>, rH<sub>20</sub>N<sub>2</sub>, and rH<sub>20</sub>N<sub>20</sub>). As expected, rH<sub>20</sub>N<sub>20</sub> showed significantly higher replication efficiency in MDCK cells and mouse lungs, and demonstrated greater pathogenicity in mice. In addition, rH<sub>20</sub>N<sub>20</sub> showed higher resistance to innate inhibitors than the other viruses. By using a loss-of-function mutant and receptor-binding assay, we demonstrated that a T133N site directed mutation created an additional N-glycosite at position 133 in rH<sub>20</sub>N<sub>20</sub>. Further, this mutation played a crucial role in viral replication and resistance to innate inhibitors by modulating the binding affinities to avian-like and mammalian-like receptors on the host cells and inhibitors. Thus, egg-adapted HA and NA may exacerbate the mammalian pathogenicity of AIVs by defying host innate inhibitors as well as by increasing replication efficiency in mammalian cells.</p>