Variation in the HA antigenicity of A(H1N1)pdm09-related swine influenza viruses

Since the influenza pandemic in 2009, the causative agent ´A(H1N1)pdm09 virus´, has been circulating in both human and swine populations. Although phylogenetic analyses of the haemagglutinin (HA) gene segment have revealed broader genetic diversity of A(H1N1)pdm09-related swine influenza A viruses (swIAVs) compared with human A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses, it remains unclear whether the genetic diversity reflects the antigenic differences in HA. To assess the impact of the diversity of the HA gene of A(H1N1)pdm09-related swIAVs on HA antigenicity, we characterized 12 swIAVs isolated in Japan from 2013 to 2018. We used a ferret antiserum and a panel of anti-HA mouse monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) raised against an early A(H1N1)pdm09 isolate. The neutralization assay with the ferret antiserum revealed that five of the 12 swIAVs were significantly different in their HA antigenicity from the early A(H1N1)pdm09 isolate. The mAbs also showed differential neutralization patterns depending on the swIAV strains. In addition, the single amino acid substitution at position 190 of HA, which was found in one of the five antigenically different swIAVs but not in human isolates, was shown to be one of the critical determinants for the antigenic difference of swIAV HAs. Two potential N-glycosylation sites at amino acid positions 185 and 276 of the HA molecule were identified in two antigenically different swIAVs. These results indicated that the genetic diversity of HA in the A(H1N1)pdm09-related swIAVs is associated with their HA antigenic variation. Our findings highlighted the need for surveillance to monitor the emergence of swIAV antigenic variants with public health importance.