Researchers discover influenza virus doesn't replicate equally in all cells

September 19, 2018, University of Minnesota
Transmission electron micrograph of influenza A virus, late passage. Credit: CDC

The seasonal flu is caused by different subtypes of Influenza A virus and typically leads to the death of half a million people each year. In order to better understand this virus and how it spreads, University of Minnesota Medical School researchers took a closer look at the cells inside the lungs. What they discovered is not only is the immune system response tuned to the amount of virus replication, it's also tuned to the viral spread. This deeper and more accurate understanding of the influenza virus and how it spreads could be the building blocks to better protective therapies for patients in the future.

"Distinct antiviral signatures revealed by the magnitude and round of influenza replication in vivo," was recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (PNAS) and details the process in which the researchers were able to come to this conclusion. In order to study this properly, they first had to create a virus that could not could spread- it could replicate but never get into a new cell.

Once they accomplished this, they could then artificially look at virus spread, with the goal of studying how new infections changed after immune responses have started. They found that during virus spread, the second round of replication does not seriously infect ciliated cells, which means the body does a really good job protecting those cells. However other cells weren't protected at all, like type-one alveolar cells which are the cells responsible for gas exchange.

"It's really important to know how cells protect themselves from viruses and how this protection can be imparted on different cell types," said the study's senior author Ryan Langlois, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Minnesota Medical School. "Clearly its not equal. Why it isn't equal, what are the mechanisms driving this, and what this means for disease we don't know yet."

Thanks to this research however, researchers now have the with which to investigate those questions.

"These results change how we view the early infection landscape of ," said Langlois. "It brings up new questions, such as what are the earliest viral events and antiviral events that are happening in a host."

Explore further: Study reveals new therapeutic target for slowing the spread of flu virus

More information: Louisa E. Sjaastad et al. Distinct antiviral signatures revealed by the magnitude and round of influenza virus replication in vivo, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2018). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1807516115

Related Stories

Study reveals new therapeutic target for slowing the spread of flu virus

June 22, 2018
Influenza A (flu A) hijacks host proteins for viral RNA splicing and blocking these interactions caused replication of the virus to slow, according to new research published in Nature Communications by Kristin W. Lynch, Ph.D., ...

How the immune system protects against Zika-induced neurological symptoms

September 13, 2018
A type of immune cell that produces a protein called CD4 plays an important role in protecting mice infected with the Zika virus against severe neurological disease, according to a study published September 6 in the open-access ...

Researchers identify structural changes that occur in enveloped viruses before invading host

August 22, 2018
The critical, structural changes that enveloped viruses, such as HIV, Ebola and influenza, undergo before invading host cells have been revealed by scientists using nano-infrared spectroscopic imaging, according to a study ...

New knowledge on how HIV beats the body's early immune response

September 14, 2017
In an important step towards eradicating HIV-associated viral reservoirs, researchers at Sydney's Westmead Institute for Medical Research have identified how the HIV virus hijacks the innate immune system to facilitate its ...

Researchers discover possible new target to attack flu virus

April 10, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have discovered that a protein produced by the influenza A virus helps it outwit one of our body's natural defense mechanisms. That makes the protein a potentially ...

New insights into how a virus-blocking bacterium operates in mosquitos

March 1, 2018
New research reveals details of the mechanism by which the bacterium Wolbachia blocks viruses in mosquito cells, suggesting that it reduces viral replication inside cells and that rapid degradation of viral RNA is involved. ...

Recommended for you

Small-scale poultry farming could mean big problem in developing countries

December 16, 2018
Small-scale farming in developing countries provides those in rural communities with income and access to protein, but it may have a large impact on antibiotic resistance, according to a new University of Michigan study.

RNA processing and antiviral immunity

December 14, 2018
The RIG-I like receptors (RLRs) are intracellular enzyme sentries that detect viral infection and initiate a first line of antiviral defense. The cellular molecules that activate RLRs in vivo are not clear.

Faster test for Ebola shows promising results in field trials

December 13, 2018
A team of researchers with members from the U.S., Senegal and Guinea, in cooperation with Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD), has developed a faster test for the Ebola virus than those currently in use. In their paper published ...

Urbanisation and air travel leading to growing risk of pandemic

December 13, 2018
Increased arrivals by air and urbanisation are the two main factors leading to a growing vulnerability to pandemics in our cities, a University of Sydney research team has found.

Drug targets for Ebola, Dengue, and Zika viruses found in lab study

December 13, 2018
No drugs are currently available to treat Ebola, Dengue, or Zika viruses, which infect millions of people every year and result in severe illness, birth defects, and even death. New research from the Gladstone Institutes ...

Researchers discover new interactions between Ebola virus and human proteins

December 13, 2018
Several new connections have been discovered between the proteins of the Ebola virus and human host cells, a finding that provides insight on ways to prevent the deadly Ebola virus from reproducing and could lead to novel ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.