In-Depth Analysis of HA and NS1 Genes in A (H1N1)pdm09 Infected Patients

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In March/April 2009, a new pandemic influenza A virus (A(H1N1)pdm09) emerged and spread rapidly via human-to-human transmission, giving rise to the first pandemic of the 21th century. Influenza virus may be present in the infected host as a mixture of variants, referred to as quasi-species, on which natural and immune-driven selection operates. Since hemagglutinin (HA) and non-structural 1 (NS1) proteins are relevant in respect of adaptive and innate immune responses, the present study was aimed at establishing the intra-host genetic heterogeneity of HA and NS1 genes, applying ultra-deep pyrosequencing (UDPS) to nasopharyngeal swabs (NPS) from patients with confirmed influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 infection. The intra-patient nucleotide diversity of HA was significantly higher than that of NS1 (median (IQR): 37.9 (32.8-42.3) X 10-4 vs 30.6 (27.4-33.6) X 10-4 substitutions/site, p = 0.024); no significant correlation for nucleotide diversity of NS1 and HA was observed (r = 0.319, p = 0.29). Furthermore, a strong inverse correlation between nucleotide diversity of NS1 and viral load was observed (r = - 0.74, p = 0.004). For both HA and NS1, the variants appeared scattered along the genes, thus indicating no privileged mutation site. Known polymorphisms, S203T (HA) and I123V (NS1), were observed as dominant variants (>98%) in almost all patients; three HA and two NS1 further variants were observed at frequency >40%; a number of additional variants were detected at frequency

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0155661.
JournalPLoS One
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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