Background: Epidemics caused by highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) are a continuing threat to human health and to the world's economy. The development of approaches, which help to understand the significance of structural changes resulting from the alarming mutational propensity for human-to-human transmission of HPAIV, is of particularly interest. Here we compare informational and structural properties of the hemagglutinin (HA) of H5N1 virus and human influenza virus subtypes, which are important for the receptor/virus interaction.
Results: Presented results revealed that HA proteins encode highly conserved information that differ between influenza virus subtypes H5N1, H1N1, H3N2, H7N7 and defined an HA domain which may modulate interaction with receptor. We also found that about one third of H5N1 viruses which are isolated during the 2006/07 influenza outbreak in Egypt possibly evolve towards receptor usage similar to that of seasonal H1N1.
Conclusion: The presented results may help to better understand the interaction of influenza virus with its receptor(s) and to identify new therapeutic targets for drug development.