An I436N substitution confers resistance of influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 viruses to multiple neuraminidase inhibitors without affecting viral fitness

Kwon, J. J., Choi, W. S., Jeong, J. H., Kim, E. H., Lee, O. J., Yoon, S. W., ... & Baek, Y. H.

Journal of General Virology 99.3 (2018): 292-302.

The resistance of influenza viruses to neuraminidase (NA) inhibitors (NAIs; i.e. oseltamivir, zanamivir, peramivir and laninamivir) can be associated with several NA substitutions, with differing effects on viral fitness. To identify novel molecular markers conferring multi-NAI resistance, the NA gene of oseltamivir-resistant (H275Y, N1 numbering) 2009 pandemic influenza [A (H1N1) pdm09] virus was enriched with random mutations. This randomly mutated viral library was propagated in Madin–Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells under zanamivir pressure and gave rise to additional changes within NA, including an I436N substitution located outside the NA enzyme active site. We generated four recombinant A (H1N1) pdm09 viruses containing either wild-type NA or NA with single (I436N or H275Y) or double (H275Y-I436N) substitutions. The double H275Y-I436N mutation significantly reduced inhibition by oseltamivir and peramivir and reduced inhibition by zanamivir and laninamivir. I436N alone reduced inhibition by all NAIs, suggesting that it is a multi-NAI resistance marker. I436N did not affect viral fitness in vitro or in a murine model; however, H275Y and I436N together had a negative impact on viral fitness. Further, I436N alone did not have an appreciable impact on viral replication in the upper respiratory tract or transmissibility in ferrets. However, the rg-H275Y-I436N double mutant transmitted less efficiently than either single mutant via the direct contact and respiratory droplet routes in ferrets. Overall, these results highlight the usefulness of a random mutagenesis approach for identifying potential molecular markers of resistance and the importance of I436N NA substitution in A (H1N1) pdm09 virus as a marker for multi-NAI resistance.


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