PB1-F2 is a small influenza A virus (IAV) protein encoded by an alternative (+1) reading frame of the PB1 gene. While dispensable for IAV replication in cultured cells, PB1-F2 has been implicated in IAV pathogenicity. To better understand PB1-F2 expression in vivo and its immunogenicity, we analyzed anti-PB1-F2 antibodies (Abs) in sera of mice infected intranasally (i.n.) with A/PR/8/34 (H1N1) virus and human acute and convalescent sera collected from the influenza H3N2 winter 2003–2004 epidemic. We explored a number of methods for detecting anti-PB1-F2 Abs, finding that PB1-F2-specific Abs could clearly be detected via immunoprecipitation or immunofluorescence assays using both immune mouse and human convalescent sera. Importantly, paired human sera exhibited similar increases in HI titers and PB1-F2-specific Abs. This study indicates that PB1-F2 is expressed in sufficient quantities in mice and humans infected with IAV to elicit an Ab response, supporting the biological relevance of this intriguing accessory protein.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 1, 2009
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