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, 26 Suppl 4 (Suppl 4), D49-53

The Biology of Influenza Viruses


The Biology of Influenza Viruses

Nicole M Bouvier et al. Vaccine.


The influenza viruses are characterized by segmented, negative-strand RNA genomes requiring an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase of viral origin for replication. The particular structure ofthe influenza virus genome and function of its viral proteins enable antigenic drift and antigenic shift. These processes result in viruses able to evade the long-term adaptive immune responses in many hosts.


FIGURE 1. Ribbon diagram of an uncleaved hemagglutinin monomer from the 1918 influenza A virus (H1N1), the causative agent of the “Spanish flu” pandemic
The head contains the sialic acid receptor-binding site, which is surrounded by the five predicted antigenic sites (Sa, Sb, Ca1, Ca2, and Cb). The stem comprises helices A and B and the fusion peptide, as shown. (Adapted from a figure, kindly provided by James Stevens and Ian Wilson, in [1].)

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