Influenza virus RNA polymerase (RdRp) PB2 is the cap-1 binding subunit and determines host range and pathogenicity. The mutant human influenza virus RdRp containing PB2 D701N and D701N/S714R demonstrated enhanced replicon activity in mammalian cells. We investigated the influence of these mutations on RdRp activity. Cap-1-dependent transcription activities of D701N/S714R, D701N, and S714R were 348.1±6.2%, 146.4±11%, and 250.1±0.8% of that of the wild type (wt), respectively. Replication activity of these mutants for complimentary RNA to viral RNA ranged from 44% to 53% of that of the wt. Cap-1 RNA-binding activities of D701N/S714R, D701N, and S714R were 262±25%, 257±34%, and 315±9.6% of that of the wt, respectively, and their cap-dependent endonuclease activities were similar to that of the wt. These mutations did not affect template RNA-binding activities. D701N and S714R mutations enhanced transcription by enhancing cap-1 RNA-binding activity, but they may exhibit decreased efficiency of priming by the cap-1 primer. These mutations at the C-terminal domain of PB2 may affect its cap-binding domain.
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