Swine Influenza Virus PA and Neuraminidase Gene Reassortment into Human H1N1 Influenza Virus Is Associated with an Altered Pathogenic Phenotype Linked to Increased MIP-2 Expression
Dlugolenski D, Jones L, Howerth E, Wentworth D, Tompkins SM, Tripp RA
Swine are susceptible to infection by both avian and human influenza viruses, and this feature is thought to contribute to novel reassortant influenza viruses. In this study, the influenza virus reassortment rate in swine and human cells was determined. Coinfection of swine cells with 2009 pandemic H1N1 virus (huH1N1) and an endemic swine H1N2 (A/swine/Illinois/02860/09) virus (swH1N2) resulted in a 23% reassortment rate that was independent of α2,3- or α2,6-sialic acid distribution on the cells. The reassortants had altered pathogenic phenotypes linked to introduction of the swine virus PA and neuraminidase (NA) into huH1N1. In mice, the huH1N1 PA and NA mediated increased MIP-2 expression early postinfection, resulting in substantial pulmonary neutrophilia with enhanced lung pathology and disease. The findings support the notion that swine are a mixing vessel for influenza virus reassortants independent of sialic acid distribution. These results show the potential for continued reassortment of the 2009 pandemic H1N1 virus with endemic swine viruses and for reassortants to have increased pathogenicity linked to the swine virus NA and PA genes which are associated with increased pulmonary neutrophil trafficking that is related to MIP-2 expression.