Acquired immune responses elicited to recent strains of seasonal H1N1 influenza viruses provide limited protection against emerging A(H1N1) pandemic viruses. Accordingly, pre-existing or rapidly induced innate immune defenses are of critical importance in limiting early infection. Respiratory secretions contain proteins of the innate immune system, including members of the collectin and pentraxin superfamilies. These mediate potent antiviral activity and act as an initial barrier to influenza infection. In this study, we have examined the sensitivity of H1N1 viruses, including pandemic virus strains, for their sensitivity to collectins (surfactant protein [SP]-D and mannose-binding lectin [MBL]) and to the pentraxin PTX3. Human SP-D and MBL inhibited virus-induced hemagglutinating activity, blocked the enzymatic activity of the viral neuraminidase, and neutralized the ability of H1N1 viruses to infect human respiratory epithelial cells in a manner that correlated with the degree of glycosylation in the globular head of the hemagglutinin. Recent seasonal H1N1 viruses expressed three to four N-glycosylation sequons on the head of hemagglutinin and were very sensitive to inhibition by SP-D or MBL, whereas A(H1N1) pandemic viruses expressed a single N-glycosylation sequon and were resistant to either collectin. Of interest, both seasonal and pandemic H1N1 viruses were resistant to PTX3. Thus, unlike recent seasonal H1N1 strains of influenza virus, A(H1N1) pandemic viruses are resistant to the antiviral activities of innate immune proteins of the collectin superfamily.
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