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Reid AH, Fanning TG, Janczewski TA, Lourens RM, Taubenberger JK. Novel origin of the 1918 pandemic influenza virus nucleoprotein gene. J Virol. 2004 Nov;78(22):12462-70
submited by kickingbird at Nov, 1, 2004 9:24 AM from J Virol. 2004 Nov;78(22):12462-70

Novel origin of the 1918 pandemic influenza virus nucleoprotein gene.

Reid AH, Fanning TG, Janczewski TA, Lourens RM, Taubenberger JK.


Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Department of Molecular Pathology, 1413 Research Blvd., Building 101, Rockville, MD 20850-3125. taubenbe@afip.osd.mil.

The nucleoprotein (NP) gene of the 1918 pandemic influenza A virus has been amplified and sequenced from archival material. The NP gene is known to be involved in many aspects of viral function and to interact with host proteins, thereby playing a role in host specificity. The 1918 NP amino acid sequence differs at only six amino acids from avian consensus sequences, consistent with reassortment from an avian source shortly before 1918. However, the nucleotide sequence of the 1918 NP gene has more than 170 differences from avian strain consensus sequences, suggesting substantial evolutionary distance from known avian strain sequences. Both the gene and protein sequences of the 1918 NP fall within the mammalian clade upon phylogenetic analysis. The evolutionary distance of the 1918 NP sequences from avian and mammalian strain sequences is examined, using several different parameters. The results suggest that the 1918 strain did not retain the previously circulating human NP. Nor is it likely to have obtained its NP by reassortment with an avian strain similar to those now characterized. The results are consistent with the existence of a currently unknown host for influenza, with an NP similar to current avian strain NPs at the amino acid level but with many synonymous nucleotide differences, suggesting evolutionary isolation from the currently characterized avian influenza virus gene pool.

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