Eriksson P, Lindskog C, Engholm E, Blixt O, Waldenström J, Munster V, Lundkvist Å, Olsen B, Jourdain E, Ellström P
Sci Rep 8 (1) 12215 [2018-08-15; online 2018-08-15]
Wild birds of Anseriformes and Charadriiformes are natural reservoirs of influenza A viruses (IAVs). Occasionally, IAVs transmit and adapt to mammalian hosts, and are maintained as epidemic strains in their new hosts. Viral adaptions to mammalian hosts include altered receptor preference of host epithelial sialylated oligosaccharides from terminal α2,3-linked sialic acid (SA) towards α2,6-linked SA. However, α2,3-linked SA has been found in human respiratory tract epithelium, and human infections by avian IAVs (AIVs) have been reported. To further explore the attachment properties of AIVs, four AIVs of different subtypes were investigated on human and pig tissues using virus histochemistry. Additionally, glycan array analysis was performed for further characterization of IAVs' receptor structure tropism. Generally, AIV attachment was more abundant to human tissues than to pig tissues. The attachment pattern was very strong to human conjunctiva and upper respiratory tract, but variable to the lower respiratory tract. AIVs mainly attached to α2,3-linked SA, but also to combinations of α2,3- and α2,6-linked SA. The low attachment of these AIV isolates to pig tissues, but high attachment to human tissues, addresses the question whether AIVs in general require passage through pigs to obtain adaptions towards mammalian receptor structures.