A miniaturized neuraminidase inhibition (NI) assay using HA-mismatched H6 reassortant viruses was performed to examine the neuraminidase (NA)-specific antibody response in ferrets immunized with live-attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) strains. The strains tested possessed different NAs derived from seasonal H1N1 and H3N2, 2009 pandemic H1N1, and the highly pathogenic influenza H5N1 virus. The anti-NA antibodies from the 2009 pandemic strain (A/California/7/2009) immunized ferrets cross-reacted with the NA of H5N1 but not with the NA of seasonal H1N1 viruses. The plaque size reduction assay confirmed the cross-reactivity between the NAs of A/California/7/2009 and the H5N1 virus. Sequence and structural analyses of these N1 NA proteins showed that the NA of the 2009 pandemic H1N1 strain shared at least 22 more amino acids in the head domain with the NAs of the avian H5N1 strains than with the NAs of seasonal human H1N1 viruses. Our data demonstrated LAIV-induced NA antibody responses in ferrets and cross-reactive NA antibodies induced by 2009 pandemic H1N1 and H5N1 LAIV viruses.
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