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The PB2 mutation with lysine at 627 enhances the pathogenicity of avian influenza (H7N9) virus which belongs to a non-zoonotic lineage

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      Abstract

      A novel avian-origin influenza A (H7N9) virus emerged in China in 2013 and has caused zoonotic disease in over 1123 persons with an overall mortality around 30%. Amino acid changes at the residues 591, 627 and 701 of polymerase basic protein 2 (PB2) have been found frequently in the human H7N9 isolates but not in viruses isolated from avian species. We have recently identified a cluster of H7N9 viruses in ducks which circulated in China prior to the first recognition of zoonotic disease in 2013. These duck viruses have genetic background distinct from the zoonotic H7N9 lineage. We found that the introduction of PB2 mutation with K at 627 but not K at 591 or N at 701 to the duck H7N9 virus led to increased pathogenicity in mice. We also found that the induction of pro-inflammatory cytokines including TNF-α, IP-10, MCP-1 and MIP-1α were associated with increased severity of infection. We conclude that introduction of the mammalian adaptation mutations into the PB2 gene of duck H7N9 viruses, which are genetically unrelated to the zoonotic H7N9 lineage, can also enhance pathogenicity in mice.

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      Human infection with a novel avian-origin influenza A (H7N9) virus.

      Infection of poultry with influenza A subtype H7 viruses occurs worldwide, but the introduction of this subtype to humans in Asia has not been observed previously. In March 2013, three urban residents of Shanghai or Anhui, China, presented with rapidly progressing lower respiratory tract infections and were found to be infected with a novel reassortant avian-origin influenza A (H7N9) virus. We obtained and analyzed clinical, epidemiologic, and virologic data from these patients. Respiratory specimens were tested for influenza and other respiratory viruses by means of real-time reverse-transcriptase-polymerase-chain-reaction assays, viral culturing, and sequence analyses. A novel reassortant avian-origin influenza A (H7N9) virus was isolated from respiratory specimens obtained from all three patients and was identified as H7N9. Sequencing analyses revealed that all the genes from these three viruses were of avian origin, with six internal genes from avian influenza A (H9N2) viruses. Substitution Q226L (H3 numbering) at the 210-loop in the hemagglutinin (HA) gene was found in the A/Anhui/1/2013 and A/Shanghai/2/2013 virus but not in the A/Shanghai/1/2013 virus. A T160A mutation was identified at the 150-loop in the HA gene of all three viruses. A deletion of five amino acids in the neuraminidase (NA) stalk region was found in all three viruses. All three patients presented with fever, cough, and dyspnea. Two of the patients had a history of recent exposure to poultry. Chest radiography revealed diffuse opacities and consolidation. Complications included acute respiratory distress syndrome and multiorgan failure. All three patients died. Novel reassortant H7N9 viruses were associated with severe and fatal respiratory disease in three patients. (Funded by the National Basic Research Program of China and others.).
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        Fatal outcome of human influenza A (H5N1) is associated with high viral load and hypercytokinemia.

        Avian influenza A (H5N1) viruses cause severe disease in humans, but the basis for their virulence remains unclear. In vitro and animal studies indicate that high and disseminated viral replication is important for disease pathogenesis. Laboratory experiments suggest that virus-induced cytokine dysregulation may contribute to disease severity. To assess the relevance of these findings for human disease, we performed virological and immunological studies in 18 individuals with H5N1 and 8 individuals infected with human influenza virus subtypes. Influenza H5N1 infection in humans is characterized by high pharyngeal virus loads and frequent detection of viral RNA in rectum and blood. Viral RNA in blood was present only in fatal H5N1 cases and was associated with higher pharyngeal viral loads. We observed low peripheral blood T-lymphocyte counts and high chemokine and cytokine levels in H5N1-infected individuals, particularly in those who died, and these correlated with pharyngeal viral loads. Genetic characterization of H5N1 viruses revealed mutations in the viral polymerase complex associated with mammalian adaptation and virulence. Our observations indicate that high viral load, and the resulting intense inflammatory responses, are central to influenza H5N1 pathogenesis. The focus of clinical management should be on preventing this intense cytokine response, by early diagnosis and effective antiviral treatment.
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          Clinical findings in 111 cases of influenza A (H7N9) virus infection.

          During the spring of 2013, a novel avian-origin influenza A (H7N9) virus emerged and spread among humans in China. Data were lacking on the clinical characteristics of the infections caused by this virus. Using medical charts, we collected data on 111 patients with laboratory-confirmed avian-origin influenza A (H7N9) infection through May 10, 2013. Of the 111 patients we studied, 76.6% were admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU), and 27.0% died. The median age was 61 years, and 42.3% were 65 years of age or older; 31.5% were female. A total of 61.3% of the patients had at least one underlying medical condition. Fever and cough were the most common presenting symptoms. On admission, 108 patients (97.3%) had findings consistent with pneumonia. Bilateral ground-glass opacities and consolidation were the typical radiologic findings. Lymphocytopenia was observed in 88.3% of patients, and thrombocytopenia in 73.0%. Treatment with antiviral drugs was initiated in 108 patients (97.3%) at a median of 7 days after the onset of illness. The median times from the onset of illness and from the initiation of antiviral therapy to a negative viral test result on real-time reverse-transcriptase-polymerase-chain-reaction assay were 11 days (interquartile range, 9 to 16) and 6 days (interquartile range, 4 to 7), respectively. Multivariate analysis revealed that the presence of a coexisting medical condition was the only independent risk factor for the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) (odds ratio, 3.42; 95% confidence interval, 1.21 to 9.70; P=0.02). During the evaluation period, the novel H7N9 virus caused severe illness, including pneumonia and ARDS, with high rates of ICU admission and death. (Funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and others.).
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]ISNI 0000 0004 0604 5998, GRID grid.452881.2, Department of clinical laboratory, , First people’s hospital of Foshan, ; Foshan, China
            [2 ]ISNI 0000000121742757, GRID grid.194645.b, HKU-Pasteur Research Pole, , School of Public Health, HKU Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, ; Hong Kong, China
            [3 ]GRID grid.470124.4, State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Disease, , National Clinical Research Center for Respiratory Disease, First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, ; Guangzhou, China
            [4 ]ISNI 0000000121742757, GRID grid.194645.b, Centre of Influenza Research, School of Public Health, , HKU Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, ; Hong Kong, China
            [5 ]State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, Macau University of Science and Technology, Macau, China
            Contributors
            jeffyah@163.com
            ch02mkp@hku.hk
            Journal
            Sci Rep
            Sci Rep
            Scientific Reports
            Nature Publishing Group UK (London )
            2045-2322
            24 May 2017
            24 May 2017
            2017
            : 7
            5443809 2598 10.1038/s41598-017-02598-z
            © The Author(s) 2017

            Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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