Alterations in the hemagglutinin associated with adaptation of influenza B virus to growth in eggs

Virology. 1985 May;143(1):166-74. doi: 10.1016/0042-6822(85)90105-9.


In 1943 Burnet reported on changes in the hemagglutinating properties of human influenza virus which occurred during adaptation of the virus to growth in chicken eggs. Only recently has direct evidence been presented that these changes affect the antigenic properties of the virus. Schild et al. (G. C. Schild, J. S. Oxford, J. C. deJong, and R. G. Webster (1983), Nature (London) 303, 706-709) demonstrated that egg adaptation of influenza B virus selects variants which are antigenically distinct from virus grown from the same source in mammalian cells. The molecular changes in the hemagglutinin (HA) of influenza B virus associated with adaptation to growth in eggs have now been identified. A specific glycosylation site at the distal tip of the HA of influenza B virus grown exclusively in mammalian cell culture is lost or altered during egg adaptation. Since the HA functions in adsorption of virus to cells, it is concluded that removal or modification of an oligosaccharide structure at this position is required for influenza B virus to attach to and infect the allantois cells of the egg and that this has important implications for the antigenic configuration of the molecule.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Line
  • Chick Embryo
  • Dogs
  • Hemagglutination Inhibition Tests
  • Hemagglutinins, Viral / analysis*
  • Influenza B virus / genetics
  • Influenza B virus / growth & development
  • Influenza B virus / immunology*
  • Kidney
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • Radioimmunoassay


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Hemagglutinins, Viral
  • RNA, Viral