Age-Dependent Glycomic Response to the 2009 Pandemic H1N1 Influenza Virus and Its Association with Disease Severity

Shuhui Chen, Brian Kasper, Bin Zhang, Lauren P. Lashua, Ted M. Ross, Elodie Ghedin, Lara K. Mahal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Influenza A viruses cause a spectrum of responses, from mild coldlike symptoms to severe respiratory illness and death. Intrinsic host factors, such as age, can influence disease severity. Glycosylation plays a critical role in influenza pathogenesis; however, the molecular drivers of influenza outcomes remain unknown. In this work, we characterized the host glycomic response to the H1N1 2009 pandemic influenza A virus (H1N1pdm09) as a function of age-dependent severity in a ferret model. Using our dual-color lectin microarray technology, we examined baseline glycosylation and glycomic response to infection in newly weaned and aged animals, models for young children and the elderly, respectively. Compared to adult uninfected ferrets, we observed higher levels of α-2,6-sialosides, the receptor for H1N1pdm09, in newly weaned and aged animals. We also observed age-dependent loss of O-linked α-2,3-sialosides. The loss of these highly charged groups may impact viral clearance by mucins, which corresponds to the lower clearance rates observed in aged animals. Upon infection, we observed dramatic changes in the glycomes of aged animals, a population severely impacted by the virus. In contrast, no significant alterations were observed in the newly weaned animals, which show mild to moderate responses to the H1N1pdm09. High mannose, a glycan recently identified as a marker of severity in adult animals, increased with severity in the aged population. However, the response was delayed, in line with the delayed development of pneumonia observed. Overall, our results may help explain the differential susceptibility to influenza A infection and severity observed as a function of age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4486-4495
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - 6 Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • H1N1
  • glycomics
  • high mannose
  • influenza
  • lectin array
  • lectin microarray


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