Antigenic structure of the haemagglutinin of human influenza A/H2N2 virus

J Gen Virol. 2001 Oct;82(Pt 10):2475-2484. doi: 10.1099/0022-1317-82-10-2475.


The antigenic structure of influenza A/H2N2 virus haemagglutinin (HA) was analysed using 19 monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against the HA of A/Kayano/57. The antibodies were classified into three groups: group I had both haemagglutination inhibition and neutralization activities, group II had neutralization activity but no haemagglutination inhibition activity and group III had neither activity. Analysis of escape mutants selected by each of the group I and II antibodies identified six distinct antigenic sites: four (I-A to I-D) were recognized by group I MAbs and two (II-A and II-B) were recognized by group II MAbs. Sequence analysis of the HA genes of the escape mutants demonstrated that sites I-A, I-B and I-C form a contiguous antigenic area that contains the regions corresponding to antigenic sites A, B and D on the H3 molecule and that sites I-D and II-B are the equivalents of sites E and C, respectively, suggesting that the antigenic structure of the H2 molecule is largely similar to that of the H3 molecule. However, the H2 molecule differed from the H3 molecule in having a highly conserved antigenic site (II-A) in the stem domain. It was also found that most of the escape mutants selected by antibodies to sites I-A, I-B and I-C acquired a new glycosylation site at position 160, 187 or 131, respectively, which indicates that A/H2N2 viruses have the potential to gain at least one additional oligosaccharide on the tip of the HA, although this has never occurred during 11 years of its circulation in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus / chemistry
  • Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus / immunology*
  • Influenza A Virus, H2N2 Subtype*
  • Influenza A virus / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus