Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is an infectious disease of birds and mammals caused by RNA viruses which can be categorized into three types: A, B, and C. Virologists have long known that the co-infection of cells with influenza A and B viruses (FluA and FluB) has been shown to result in suppression of FluA growth. The insight of how FluB impedes FluA has been revealed by Dr. Anan Jongkaewwattana and his colleagues from BIOTEC Virology and Cell Technology Laboratory
Given the possibility that FluB-specific proteins might hinder FluA polymerase activity and replication, Dr. Jongwattana addressed this issue by individually determining the effect of each gene of FluB on the FluA polymerase assay. The team found that the nucleoprotein of FluB (NP(FluB)) inhibits polymerase activity of FluA in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover, mutational analyses of NP(FluB) suggested that functional NP(FluB) is necessary for this inhibition and slower growth of FluA was also observed in MDCK cells stably expressing NP(FluB). Further analysis of NP(FluB) indicated that it does not affect nuclear import of NP(FluA). All of these findings suggested that a novel role of NP(FluB) in inhibiting replication of FluA, providing more understanding into the mechanism of interference between FluA and FluB and the lack of reassortants between them.
The result of this study, entitled “Inhibition of influenza A virus replication by influenza B virus nucleoprotein: An insight into interference between influenza A and B viruses”, may lead to a new way for antiviral development. It can also lead to the prevention of illness and death worldwide caused by FluA strains such as H5N1 and H1N1. This work, published in Virology, was recently highlighted onA-IMBN Research.
Posted on 4 September 2012