Growth Kinetics of Influenza C Virus Antigenic Mutants That Escaped from Anti-Hemagglutinin Esterase Monoclonal Antibodies and Viral Antigenic Changes Found in Field Isolates

Viruses. 2021 Mar 3;13(3):401. doi: 10.3390/v13030401.


The antigenicity of the hemagglutinin esterase (HE) glycoprotein of influenza C virus is known to be stable; however, information about residues related to antigenic changes has not yet been fully acquired. Using selection with anti-HE monoclonal antibodies, we previously obtained some escape mutants and identified four antigenic sites, namely, A-1, A-2, A-3, and Y-1. To confirm whether the residues identified as the neutralizing epitope possibly relate to the antigenic drift, we analyzed the growth kinetics of these mutants. The results showed that some viruses with mutations in antigenic site A-1 were able to replicate to titers comparable to that of the wild-type, while others showed reduced titers. The mutants possessing substitutions in the A-2 or A-3 site replicated as efficiently as the wild-type virus. Although the mutant containing a deletion at positions 192 to 195 in the Y-1 site showed lower titers than the wild-type virus, it was confirmed that this region in the 190-loop on the top side of the HE protein is not essential for viral propagation. Then, we revealed that antigenic changes due to substitutions in the A-1, A-3, and/or Y-1 site had occurred in nature in Japan for the past 30 years. These results suggest that some residues (i.e., 125, 176, 192) in the A-1 site, residue 198 in the A-3 site, and residue 190 in the Y-1 site are likely to mediate antigenic drift while maintaining replicative ability.

Keywords: antigenic drift; escape mutant; growth kinetics; influenza C virus; surveillance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigenic Variation / immunology*
  • Antigens, Viral* / genetics
  • Antigens, Viral* / immunology
  • Dogs
  • Gammainfluenzavirus* / genetics
  • Gammainfluenzavirus* / immunology
  • Madin Darby Canine Kidney Cells


  • Antigens, Viral