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2019-4-19 13:29:11

Vahey MD, Fletcher DA. Low-Fidelity Assembly of Influenza A Virus Promotes Escape from Host Cells. Cell. 2018 Nov 27
submited by kickingbird at Dec, 9, 2018 11:9 AM from Cell. 2018 Nov 27

Influenza viruses inhabit a wide range of host environments using a limited repertoire of protein components. Unlike viruses with stereotyped shapes, influenza produces virions with significant morphological variability even within clonal populations. Whether this tendency to form pleiomorphic virions is coupled to compositional heterogeneity and whether it affects replicative fitness remains unclear. Here, we address these questions by developing a strain of influenza A virus amenable to rapid compositional characterization through quantitative, site-specific labeling of viral proteins. Using this strain, we find that influenza A produces virions with broad variations in size and composition from even single infected cells. This phenotypic variability contributes to virus survival during environmental challenges, including exposure to antivirals. Complementing genetic adaptations that act over larger populations and longer times, this "low-fidelity" assembly of influenza A virus allows small populations to survive environments that fluctuate over individual replication cycles.

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