Pandemic type A (H1N1) influenza arose in early 2009, probably in Mexico and the United States, and reappeared in North America in September for seven more months. An amino acid substitution in the hemagglutinin (HA), D222G, has been reported in a significant proportion of patients with a severe and fatal outcome. We studied the prevalence of HA222 substitutions in patients in Mexico during the second wave and its association with clinical outcome and pathogenicity in a mouse model.
The non-structural protein 1 (NS1) of influenza A virus (IAV), coded by its third most diverse gene, interacts with multiple molecules within infected cells. NS1 is involved in host immune response regulation and is a potential contributor to the virus host range. Early phylogenetic analyses using 50 sequences led to the classification of NS1 gene variants into groups (alleles) A and B. We reanalyzed NS1 diversity using 14,716 complete NS IAV sequences, downloaded from public databases, without host bias. Removal of sequence redundancy and further structured clustering at 96.8% amino acid similarity produced 415 clusters that enhanced our capability to detect distinct subgroups and lineages, which were assigned a numerical nomenclature. Maximum likelihood phylogenetic reconstruction using RNA sequences indicated the previously identified deep branching separating group A from group B, with five distinct subgroups within A as well as two and five lineages within the A4 and A5 subgroups, respectively. Our classification model proposes that sequence patterns in thirteen amino acid positions are sufficient to fit >99.9% of all currently available NS1 sequences into the A subgroups/lineages or the B group. This classification reduces host and virus bias through the prioritization of NS1 RNA phylogenetics over host or virus phenetics. We found significant sequence conservation within the subgroups and lineages with characteristic patterns of functional motifs, such as the differential binding of CPSF30 and crk/crkL or the availability of a C-terminal PDZ-binding motif. To understand selection pressures and evolution acting on NS1, it is necessary to organize the available data. This updated classification may help to clarify and organize the study of NS1 interactions and pathogenic differences and allow the drawing of further functional inferences on sequences in each group, subgroup and lineage rather than on a strain-by-strain basis.
Influenza viruses pose a threat to human health because of their potential to cause global disease. Between mid March and mid April a pandemic influenza A virus emerged in Mexico. This report details 202 cases of infection of humans with the 2009 influenza A virus (H1N1)v which occurred in Mexico City as well as the spread of the virus throughout the entire country.
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