Importance of viral genomic composition in modulating glycoprotein content on the surface of influenza virus particles

Virology. 2011 May 25;414(1):51-62. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2011.03.011. Epub 2011 Apr 5.


Despite progress in our knowledge of the internal organisation of influenza virus particles, little is known about the determinants of their morphology and, more particularly, of the actual abundance of structural proteins at the virion level. To address these issues, we used cryo-EM to focus on viral (and host) factors that might account for observed differences in virion morphology and characteristics such as size, shape and glycoprotein (GP) spike density. Twelve recombinant viruses were characterised in terms of their morphology, neuraminidase activity and virus growth. The genomic composition was shown to be important in determining the GP spike density. In particular, polymerase gene segments and especially PB1/PB2 were shown to have a prominent influence in addition to that for HA in determining GP spike density, a feature consistent with a functional link between these virus components important for virus fitness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cryoelectron Microscopy
  • Dogs
  • Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus / metabolism*
  • Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype / metabolism
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype / ultrastructure*
  • Influenza A Virus, H3N2 Subtype / metabolism
  • Influenza A Virus, H3N2 Subtype / ultrastructure*
  • Neuraminidase / metabolism*
  • Neuraminidase / ultrastructure
  • RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase / metabolism
  • Viral Proteins / metabolism*
  • Viral Proteins / ultrastructure
  • Virion / metabolism
  • Virion / ultrastructure*


  • Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus
  • PB2 protein, Influenzavirus A
  • Viral Proteins
  • influenza virus polymerase basic protein 1
  • RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase
  • NA protein, influenza A virus
  • Neuraminidase