Specification of receptor-binding phenotypes of influenza virus isolates from different hosts using synthetic sialylglycopolymers: non-egg-adapted human H1 and H3 influenza A and influenza B viruses share a common high binding affinity for 6'-sialyl(N-acetyllactosamine)

Virology. 1997 Jun 9;232(2):345-50. doi: 10.1006/viro.1997.8572.


Synthetic sialylglycoconjugates bearing 3'-sialyllactose, 6'-sialyllactose, or 6'-sialyl(N-acetyllactosamine) moieties attached to the polyacrylic acid carrier (P-3-SL, P-6-SL, and P-6-SLN, respectively) were prepared and tested for their ability to bind to influenza virus isolates from different hosts in a competitive solid phase assay. The virus panel included egg-grown avian and porcine strains, as well as human viruses isolated and propagated solely in mammalian (MDCK) cells and their egg-adapted variants. A clear correlation was observed between the pattern of virus binding of two glycopolymers, P-3-SL and P-6-SLN, and the host species from which the virus was derived. Avian isolates displayed a high binding affinity for P-3-SL and a two to three orders of magnitude lower affinity for P-6-SLN. By contrast, all non-egg-adapted human A and B viruses bound P-6-SLN strongly but did not bind P-3-SL. Unlike the "authentic" human strains, their egg-adapted counterparts acquired an ability to bind P-3-SL, indicative of a shift in the receptor-binding phenotype toward the recognition of Neu5Ac2-3Gal-terminated sugar sequences. Among the porcine viruses and human isolates with porcine hemagglutinin, few displayed an avian-like binding phenotype, while others differed from both avian and human strains by a reduced ability to discriminate between P-3-SL and P-6-SLN. Our data show that sialylglycopolymers may become a useful tool in studies on molecular mechanisms of interspecies transfer, tissue specificity, and other structure-function relationships of the influenza virus hemagglutinin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Sugars / chemistry
  • Amino Sugars / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Chick Embryo
  • Dogs
  • Glycoconjugates / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Influenza A virus / isolation & purification
  • Influenza A virus / metabolism*
  • Influenza B virus / isolation & purification
  • Influenza B virus / metabolism*
  • Lactose / analogs & derivatives*
  • Lactose / chemistry
  • Lactose / metabolism
  • Phenotype
  • Receptors, Virus / chemistry
  • Receptors, Virus / metabolism*
  • Sialic Acids / chemistry
  • Sialic Acids / metabolism*


  • Amino Sugars
  • Glycoconjugates
  • Receptors, Virus
  • Sialic Acids
  • sialyl-N-acetyllactosamine
  • N-acetylneuraminoyllactose
  • Lactose