Influenza Virus RNA Synthesis and the Innate Immune Response

Viruses. 2021 Apr 28;13(5):780. doi: 10.3390/v13050780.


Infection with influenza A and B viruses results in a mild to severe respiratory tract infection. It is widely accepted that many factors affect the severity of influenza disease, including viral replication, host adaptation, innate immune signalling, pre-existing immunity, and secondary infections. In this review, we will focus on the interplay between influenza virus RNA synthesis and the detection of influenza virus RNA by our innate immune system. Specifically, we will discuss the generation of various RNA species, host pathogen receptors, and host shut-off. In addition, we will also address outstanding questions that currently limit our knowledge of influenza virus replication and host adaption. Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying these factors is essential for assessing the pandemic potential of future influenza virus outbreaks.

Keywords: MAVS; RIG-I; RNA polymerase; defective interfering RNA; influenza A virus; interferon; mini viral RNA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Influenza, Human / immunology
  • Influenza, Human / virology
  • Orthomyxoviridae / genetics*
  • Orthomyxoviridae / immunology*
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / immunology*
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / virology*
  • RNA, Viral / biosynthesis*
  • Receptors, Virus / metabolism
  • Viral Proteins
  • Virus Replication*


  • RNA, Viral
  • Receptors, Virus
  • Viral Proteins
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases