Journal of virology. 2014-09-01; 88.17: 10110-9.

Introductions and evolution of human-origin seasonal influenza a viruses in multinational swine populations

Nelson MI, Wentworth DE, Culhane MR, Vincent AL, Viboud C, LaPointe MP, Lin X, Holmes EC, Detmer SE

PMID: 24965467


The capacity of influenza A viruses to cross species barriers presents a continual threat to human and animal health. Knowledge of the human-swine interface is particularly important for understanding how viruses with pandemic potential evolve in swine hosts. We sequenced the genomes of 141 influenza viruses collected from North American swine during 2002 to 2011 and identified a swine virus that possessed all eight genome segments of human seasonal A/H3N2 virus origin. A molecular clock analysis indicates that this virus--A/sw/Saskatchewan/02903/2009(H3N2)--has likely circulated undetected in swine for at least 7 years. For historical context, we performed a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of an additional 1,404 whole-genome sequences from swine influenza A viruses collected globally during 1931 to 2013. Human-to-swine transmission occurred frequently over this time period, with 20 discrete introductions of human seasonal influenza A viruses showing sustained onward transmission in swine for at least 1 year since 1965. Notably, human-origin hemagglutinin (H1 and H3) and neuraminidase (particularly N2) segments were detected in swine at a much higher rate than the six internal gene segments, suggesting an association between the acquisition of swine-origin internal genes via reassortment and the adaptation of human influenza viruses to new swine hosts. Further understanding of the fitness constraints on the adaptation of human viruses to swine, and vice versa, at a genomic level is central to understanding the complex multihost ecology of influenza and the disease threats that swine and humans pose to each other.