Sialobiology of influenza: molecular mechanism of host range variation of influenza viruses

Biol Pharm Bull. 2005 Mar;28(3):399-408. doi: 10.1248/bpb.28.399.


The gene pool of influenza A viruses in aquatic birds provides all of the genetic diversity required for human and lower animals. Host range selection of the receptor binding specificity of the influenza virus hemagglutinin occurs during maintenance of the virus in different host cells that express different receptor sialo-sugar chains. In this paper, functional roles of the hemagglutinin and neuraminidase spikes of influenza viruses are described in the relation to 1) host range of influenza viruses, 2) receptor binding specificity of human and other animal influenza viruses, 3) recognition of sialyl sugar chains by Spanish influenza virus hemagglutinin, 4) highly pathogenic and potentially pandemic H5N1, H9N2, and H7N7 avian influenza viruses and molecular mechanism of host range variation of influenza viruses, 5) role of the neuraminidase spike for the host range of influenza viruses, and 6) Development of anti-influenza drugs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / chemistry
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology
  • Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus / chemistry*
  • Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Influenza, Human / drug therapy
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control
  • Influenza, Human / transmission*
  • Influenza, Human / virology
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid / chemistry
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid / metabolism
  • Neuraminidase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Neuraminidase / chemistry
  • Neuraminidase / metabolism
  • Orthomyxoviridae / enzymology
  • Orthomyxoviridae / metabolism*
  • Orthomyxoviridae / pathogenicity*
  • Protein Binding / physiology
  • Sialoglycoproteins / chemistry*
  • Sialoglycoproteins / metabolism


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus
  • Sialoglycoproteins
  • Neuraminidase
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid