Three H5N8 avian influenza viruses isolated from domestic geese in China in 2014 were characterized phylogenetically and biologically. Phylogenetic analysis of the complete genomic sequences of the three isolates from this study and those of 61 other H5N8 viruses retrieved from the GISAID platform indicated that, chronologically and geographically, all H5N8 viruses of the Asian H5N1 HA lineage of clade 22.214.171.124 are the direct descendents of the K1203 (H5N8)-like viruses first isolated in China in 2010. The three viruses from this study shared high sequence similarity in all eight gene segments with three other isolates from China in 2013, and two Korean isolates were distinct from the recently circulating reassortants causing outbreaks in Asia, Europe and the United States in 2014 and 2015. In vitro viral growth curves indicated that these H5N8 viruses replicated to high titers in CEF, DEF, MDCK and A549 cells but to significantly lower titers in Vero cells. Pathogenicity studies in vivo indicated that these viruses were all highly virulent to chickens and mallard ducks, while they varied from moderate to high virulence in mice. Additionally, hemagglutination assays using α-2,3-sialidase-treated goose red blood cells and solid-phase direct binding assays with different glycans demonstrated that the three viruses could bind to both avian-type SAα-2,3Gal and human-type SAα-2,6Gal receptors. Our findings confirmed the progenitor nature of the K1203-like viruses in generating recent prevalent clade 126.96.36.199 H5N8 reassortants, which have caused tremendous damage to the poultry industry and are a potential threat to public health.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 1, 2016
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