Article CC BY-NC 4.0

Cell-intrinsic genomic reassortment of pandemic H1N1 2009 and Eurasian avian-like swine influenza viruses results in potentially zoonotic variants

Influenza A viruses (IAV) cause annual epidemics and occasional pandemics in humans. The most recent pandemic outbreak occurred in 2009 with H1N1pdm09. This virus, which most likely reassorted in swine before its transmission to humans, was reintroduced into the swine population and continues circulating ever since. In order to assess its potential to cause reassortants on a cellular level, human origin H1N1pdm09 and a recent Eurasian avian-like H1N1 swine IAV were (co-)passaged in the newly generated swine lung cell line C22. Co-infection with both viruses gave rise to numerous reassortants that additionally carry different mutations which can partially be found in nature as well. Reassortment most frequently affected the PB1, PA and NA segments with the swine IAV as recipient. These reassortants reached higher titers in swine lung cells and were able to replicate in genuine human lung tissue explants ex vivo, suggesting a possible zoonotic potential. Interestingly, reassortment and mutations in the viral ribonucleoprotein complex influence the viral polymerase activity in a cell type and species-specific manner. In summary, we demonstrate reassortment promiscuity of these viruses in a novel swine lung cell model and indicate a possible zoonotic potential of the reassortants.



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