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The purpose of the study was to find molecular recognition characteristics of pandemic strains of influenza A viruses and to find out whether avian strains are the probable cause of a new influenza pandemic. Computer analysis of the internal proteins (nucleoprotein, matrix protein M1 and M2 proteins polymerase complex PB1, PB2 and PA, non-structural protein NS2; because of the variability of the length the non-structural NS1 protein was excluded from the analysis) of influenza A virus pandemics in 1918 (H1N1), 1957 (H2N2), 1968 (H3N2), 1977 (H1N1) and 2009 (H1N1) strains was used for search of the invariant pattern primary structure. It was revealed that internal proteins of pandemic strains are characterized by the constancy of the number and positions of certain amino acids and the presence of extended invariant fragments. On the basis of these identified patterns of invariances in internal proteins it was possible to accurately identify pandemic strains in the control sample. Pandemic strains, divided by decades in their emergence and different composition of subtypes of hemagglutinin and neuraminidase (H1, H2, H3 and N1, N2), have strong relationship for their internal proteins, forming a special subset. This suggests that emergence of influenza A virus pandemic strains is related to convergence of their internal proteins to the detected pandemic invariants. To identify pandemic invariant patterns is enough to have the training set including strains of four pandemics (1918, 1957, 1968, 1977). Therefore the 2009–2010 pandemic influenza strain could be predicted at the earliest stage according to its genome and proteome sequencing. According to a comparative analysis, the internal proteins of avian strains H5N1 and H7N9, particularly their nucleoproteins, are not close to those of pandemic strains. This suggests that the threat of a new influenza pandemic, provoked by current circulating avian strains, is unlikely. Invariant patterns of pandemic strains can potentially be used to track pre-pandemic strains among circulating influenza A viruses and detect the formation of a possible trajectory of pandemic alert. 

About the authors

E. P. Kharchenko

Sechenov Institute of Evolutionary Physiology and Biochemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation

Author for correspondence.

PhD, MD (Biology), Senior Researcher, Sechenov Institute of Evolutionary Physiology and Biochemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Russian Federation


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Copyright (c) 2016 Kharchenko E.P.

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