Takayama I, Nguyen BG, Dao CX, Pham TT, Dang TQ, T. Next-Generation Sequencing Analysis of the Within-Host Genetic Diversity of Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 Viruses in the Upper and Lower Respiratory Tracts of Patients with Severe Influenza. mSphere. 2021 Jan 6;6(1):e01043-20
The influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus emerged in April 2009 with an unusual incidence of severe disease and mortality, and currently circulates as a seasonal influenza virus. Previous studies using consensus viral genome sequencing data have overlooked the viral genomic and phenotypic diversity. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) may instead be used to characterize viral populations in an unbiased manner and to measure within-host genetic diversity. In this study, we used NGS analysis to investigate the within-host genetic diversity of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus in the upper and lower respiratory samples from nine patients who were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). A total of 47 amino acid substitution positions were found to differ between the upper and lower respiratory tract samples from all patients. However, the D222G/N substitution in hemagglutinin (HA) protein was the only amino acid substitution common to multiple patients. Furthermore, the substitution was detected only in the six samples from the lower respiratory tract. Therefore, it is important to investigate influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus populations using multiple paired samples from the upper and lower respiratory tract to avoid overlooking potentially important substitutions, especially in patients with severe disease.IMPORTANCE The D222G/N substitution in the hemagglutinin (HA) protein of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus has been reported to be associated with disease severity and mortality in numerous previous studies. In the present study, 75% of lower respiratory samples contained heterogeneous influenza populations that carried different amino acids at position 222 of the HA protein, whereas all upper respiratory samples only contained the wild-type 222D. These results suggest the influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus has diversified inside the host owing to differences in tissue specificity. In this study, the within-host genetic diversity of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus was investigated for the first time using next-generation sequencing analysis of the viral whole-genome in samples extracted from the upper and lower respiratory tracts of patients with severe disease.
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