Mx genes: host determinants controlling influenza virus infection and trans-species transmission

  • Otto HallerEmail author
  • Georg Kochs
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Human genetics of infectious diseases


The human MxA protein, encoded by the interferon-inducible MX1 gene, is an intracellular influenza A virus (IAV) restriction factor. It can protect transgenic mice from severe IAV-induced disease, indicating a key role of human MxA for host survival and suggesting that natural variations in MX1 may account for inter-individual differences in disease severity among humans. MxA also provides a robust barrier against zoonotic transmissions of avian and swine IAV strains. Therefore, zoonotic IAV must acquire MxA escape mutations to achieve sustained human-to-human transmission. Here, we discuss recent progress in the field.



We thank Heinz Arnheiter, Laura Graf, Martin Schwemmle, and Peter Staeheli for excellent comments on the manuscript.


This work was funded by grants of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft to G.K. (Ko 1579/8-2 and 1579/9-2).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Virology, Medical CenterUniversity of FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  2. 2.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  3. 3.Institute of Molecular Life SciencesUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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