Human-avian and human-mammalian influenza A virus reassortant clones with the neuraminidase (NA) gene of the A/USSR/90/77 (H1N1) strain and hemagglutinin (HA) genes of H3, H4 and H13 subtypes had been shown in an earlier publication to produce low HA yields in the embryonated chicken eggs. The low HA titers had been shown to be due, at least in part, to the formation of virion clusters at 4 degrees C; the clustering was removed by the treatment with bacterial neuraminidase [Rudneva et al., Arch. Virol (1993) 133: 437-450]. By serial passages of the reassortants in chick embryos non-aggregating variants were selected: the variants produced HA titers of the same order as A/USSR/90/77 parent virus. The assessment of the virus yields by the analysis of the partially purified virus preparations from fixed volumes of the allantoic fluid revealed that actual virion yields of the initial reassortants were lower than the yields of their passaged variants or of the parent viruses. The passaged variant of a reassortant possessing the HA gene of A/Duck/Ukraine/1/63 (H3N2) virus differed from the original (non-passaged) reassortant and from the parent A/Duck/Ukraine/1/63 virus in the reaction with a panel of monoclonal antibodies against H3 hemagglutinin. The data suggest that some HA-NA combinations may lead to an incomplete functional match between HA and NA and to the formation of low-yield reassortants, thus representing a possible limiting factor in the emergence of new HA-NA combinations in natural conditions.