, Volume 52, Issue 5, pp 428-438
Date: 27 May 2009

Interspecies transmission and host restriction of avian H5N1 influenza virus

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Long-term endemicity of avian H5N1 influenza virus in poultry and continuous sporadic human infections in several countries has raised the concern of another potential pandemic influenza. Suspicion of the avian origin of the previous pandemics results in the close investigation of the mechanism of interspecies transmission. Entry and fusion is the first step for the H5N1 influenza virus to get into the host cells affecting the host ranges. Therefore receptor usage study has been a major focus for the last few years. We now know the difference of the sialic acid structures and distributions in different species, even in the different parts of the same host. Many host factors interacting with the influenza virus component proteins have been identified and their role in the host range expansion and interspecies transmission is under detailed scrutiny. Here we review current progress in the receptor usage and host factors.

Supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (Grant Nos. 2005CB523001, 2005CB523002), National Key Technologies Research & Development Program (Grant 2006BAD06A01/2006BAD06A04); US National Institutes of Health (NIH) (Grant 3 U19 AI051915-05S1), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant 30599434). GAO FG is a distinguished young investigator of the NSFC (Grant No. 30525010).