Characterization of co-circulating swine influenza A viruses in North America and the identification of a novel H1 genetic clade with antigenic significance

Virus Res. 2015 Apr 2;201:24-31. doi: 10.1016/j.virusres.2015.02.009. Epub 2015 Feb 18.


Multiple genetically and antigenically distinct hemagglutinin genes of the H1 and H3 influenza A virus (IAV) subtypes co-circulate in North American swine. This diversity has evolved by repeated transmission of IAVs from humans to swine and subsequent antigenic drift in swine. To understand the evolutionary dynamics of these diverse HA lineages in North American swine, we undertook a phylogenetic analysis of 1576 H1 and 607 H3 HA gene segments, as well as 834 N1 and 1293 N2 NA gene segments, and 2126 M gene segments. These data revealed yearly co-circulation of H1N1, H1N2, and H3N2 viruses, with three HA clades representing the majority of the HA sequences: of the H1 viruses, 42% were classified as H1δ1 and 40.6% were classified as H1γ; and of the H3 viruses 53% were classified as cluster IV-A H3N2. We detected a genetically distinct minor clade consisting of 37 H1 viruses isolated between 2003 and 2013, which we classified as H1γ-2. We estimated that this clade circulated in swine since approximately 1995, but it was not detected in swine until 2003. Though this clade only represents 1.07% of swine H1 sequences reported over the past 10 years, hemagglutination inhibition (HI) assays demonstrated that representatives of this clade of viruses are antigenically distinct, and, when measured using antigenic cartography, were as many as 7 antigenic units from other H1γ viruses. Therefore vaccines against the contemporary H1γ viruses are not likely to cross-protect against γ-2 viruses. The long-term circulation of these γ-2 viruses suggests that minor populations of viruses may be underreported in the national dataset given the long branch lengths and gaps in detections. The identification of these γ-2 viruses demonstrates the need for robust surveillance to capture the full diversity IAVs in swine in the USA and the importance of antigenic drift in the diversification and emergence of new antigenic variants in swine, which complicates vaccine design.

Keywords: Antigenic drift; Epidemiology; Influenza A virus; Swine; Vaccines; Zoonotic diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genotype
  • Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus / genetics*
  • Influenza A virus / classification*
  • Influenza A virus / genetics
  • Influenza A virus / isolation & purification*
  • Molecular Epidemiology
  • North America / epidemiology
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / epidemiology
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / veterinary*
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / virology
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Sequence Homology
  • Swine
  • Swine Diseases / epidemiology
  • Swine Diseases / virology*


  • Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus
  • RNA, Viral
  • hemagglutinin, human influenza A virus