[Source: Journal of Virology, full text: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]
Reassortment Complements Spontaneous Mutation in Influenza A Virus NP and M1 Genes To Accelerate Adaptation to a New Host
William L. Ince, Aissatou Gueye-Mbaye, Jack R. Bennink and Jonathan W. Yewdell
Author Affiliations: Laboratory of Viral Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
Influenza A virus (IAV) infects a remarkably wide variety of avian and mammalian hosts. Evolution finely hones IAV genes to optimally infect and be transmitted in a particular host species. Sporadically, IAV manages to jump between species, introducing novel antigenic strains into the new host population that wreak havoc until herd immunity develops. IAV adaptation to new hosts typically involves reassortment of IAV gene segments from coinfecting virus strains adapted to different hosts in conjunction with multiple adaptive mutations in the various IAV genes. To better understand host adaptation between mammalian species in real time, we passaged mouse-adapted A/PR8/34 (PR8) in guinea pigs. Guinea pigs, unlike mice, support spontaneous and robust IAV transmission. For some IAV strains, including PR8, adaptation is required for a virus to attain transmissibility, providing an opportunity to understand the evolution of transmissibility in guinea pigs. Multiple guinea pig-adapted PR8 mutants generated by serial nasal wash passaging in independent lines replicated more efficiently and were transmitted by cocaging. All transmissible variants possessed one of two nonsynonymous mutations in M1, either alone or in combination with mutations in PB2, HA, NP, or NA. Rapid reassortment between independently selected variants combined beneficial mutations in NP and M1 to form the fittest virus capable of being transmitted. These findings provide further insight into genetic determinants in NP and M1 involved in PR8 IAV adaptation to be transmitted in a new host and clearly show the benefit of a segmented genome in rapidly generating optimal combinations of mutations in IAV evolution.
Received 2 October 2012. Accepted 26 January 2013.
Address correspondence to Jonathan W. Yewdell, JYEWDELL@niaid.nih.gov.
Published ahead of print 30 January 2013
Copyright © 2013, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.