Glycosylation of the hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) of the influenza provides crucial means for immune evasion and viral fitness in a host population. However, the time-dependent dynamics of each glycosylation sites have not been addressed. We monitored the potential N-linked glycosylation (NLG) sites of over 10,000 HA and NA of H1N1 subtype isolated from human, avian, and swine species over the past century. The results show a shift in glycosylation sites as a hallmark of 1918 and 2009 pandemics, and also for the 1976 “abortive pandemic”. Co-segregation of particular glycosylation sites was identified as a characteristic of zoonotic transmission from animal reservoirs, and interestingly, of “reverse zoonosis” of human viruses into swine populations as well. After the 2009 pandemic, recent isolates accrued glycosylation at canonical sites in HA, reflecting gradual seasonal adaptation, and a novel glycosylation in NA as an independent signature for adaptation among humans. Structural predictions indicated a remarkably pleiotropic influence of glycans on multiple HA epitopes for immune evasion, without sacrificing the receptor binding of HA or the activity of NA. The results provided the rationale for establishing the ecological niche of influenza viruses among the reservoir and could be implemented for influenza surveillance and improving pandemic preparedness.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases