Specific residues of the influenza A virus hemagglutinin viral RNA are important for efficient packaging into budding virions

Glenn A. Marsh, Raheleh Hatami, Peter Palese

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163 Scopus citations

Abstract

A final step in the influenza virus replication cycle is the assembly of the viral structural proteins and the packaging of the eight segments of viral RNA (vRNA) into a fully infectious virion. The process by which the RNA genome is packaged efficiently remains poorly understood. In an approach to analyze how vRNA is packaged, we rescued a seven-segmented virus lacking the hemagglutinin (HA) vRNA (deltaHA virus). This virus could be passaged in cells constitutively expressing HA protein, but it was attenuated in comparison to wild-type A/WSN/33 virus. Supplementing the deltaHA virus with an artificial segment containing green fluorescent protein (GFP) or red fluorescent protein (RFP) with HA packaging regions (45 3′ and 80 5′ nucleotides) partially restored the growth of this virus to wild-type levels. The absence of the HA vRNA in the deltaHA virus resulted in a 40 to 60% reduction in the packaging of the PA, NP, NA, M, and NS vRNAs, as measured by quantitative PCR (qPCR), and the packaging of these vRNAs was partially restored in the presence of GFP/RFP packaging constructs. To further define nucleotides of the HA coding sequence which are important for vRNA packaging, synonymous mutations were introduced into the full-length HA cDNA of influenza A/WSN/33 and A/Puerto Rico/8/34 viruses, and mutant viruses were rescued. qPCR analysis of vRNAs packaged in these mutant viruses identified a key region of the open reading frame (nucleotides 1659 to 1671) that is critical for the efficient packaging of an influenza virus H1 HA segment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9727-9736
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Virology
Volume81
Issue number18
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2007

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