Killing of Avian and Swine Influenza Virus by Natural Killer Cells

Lautenberg Center for General and Tumor Immunology, IMRIC, The Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel.
Journal of Virology (Impact Factor: 4.44). 04/2010; 84(8):3993-4001. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.02289-09
Source: PubMed


Today, global attention is focused on two influenza virus strains: the current pandemic strain, swine origin influenza virus (H1N1-2009), and the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus, H5N1. At present, the infection caused by the H1N1-2009 is moderate, with mortality rates of less <1%. In contrast, infection with the H5N1 virus resulted in high mortality rates, and ca. 60% of the infected patients succumb to the infection. Thus, one of the world greatest concerns is that the H5N1 virus will evolve to allow an efficient human infection and human-to-human transmission. Natural killer (NK) cells are one of the innate immune components playing an important role in fighting against influenza viruses. One of the major NK activating receptors involved in NK cell cytotoxicity is NKp46. We previously demonstrated that NKp46 recognizes the hemagglutinin proteins of B and A influenza virus strains. Whether NKp46 could also interact with H1N1-2009 virus or with the avian influenza virus is still unknown. We analyzed the immunological properties of both the avian and the H1N1-2009 influenza viruses. We show that NKp46 recognizes the hemagglutinins of H1N1-2009 and H5 and that this recognition leads to virus killing both in vitro and in vivo. However, importantly, while the swine H1-NKp46 interactions lead to the direct killing of the infected cells, the H5-NKp46 interactions were unable to elicit direct killing, probably because the NKp46 binding sites for these two viruses are different.

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    • "Natural killer (NK) cells are innate lymphocytes that provide early protection against a number of viral infections and are thought to participate in the early defence against influenza virus [1], [2]. Human NK cells recognize influenza virus infected cells through the activating NK cell receptor NKp46/NCR1 in vitro [3], [4], but their importance in vivo is still poorly documented. Clinical cases of human influenza have shown that the population of NK cells in the blood is reduced. "
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    ABSTRACT: Natural killer (NK) cells are important players in the innate immune response against influenza A virus and the activating receptor NKp46, which binds hemagglutinin on the surface of infected cells, has been assigned a role in this context. As pigs are natural hosts for influenza A viruses and pigs possess both NKp46- and NKp46+ NK cells, they represent a good animal model for studying the role of the NKp46 receptor during influenza. We explored the role of NK cells in piglets experimentally infected with 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus by flow cytometric analyses of cells isolated from blood and lung tissue and by immunostaining of lung tissue sections. The number of NKp46+ NK cells was reduced while NKp46- NK cells remained unaltered in the blood 1-3 days after infection. In the lungs, the intensity of NKp46 expression on NK cells was increased during the first 3 days, and areas where influenza virus nucleoprotein was detected were associated with increased numbers of NKp46+ NK cells when compared to uninfected areas. NKp46+ NK cells in the lung were neither found to be infected with influenza virus nor to be undergoing apoptosis. The binding of porcine NKp46 to influenza virus infected cells was verified in an in vitro assay. These data support the involvement of porcine NKp46+ NK cells in the local immune response against influenza virus.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    • "The interaction between H5N1 virus and NKp46 is not able to induce NK-cell mediated killing by itself. Killing of H5N1 infected targets is only observed when both NKp46 and NKG2D are activated34. This lack of NK-cell activation upon the interaction between H5N1 avian influenza viruses and NKp46 itself may be a property of these viruses which contributes to their highly pathogenic nature. "
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    ABSTRACT: Infection of chickens with low pathogenicity avian influenza (LPAI) virus results in mild clinical signs while infection with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses causes death of the birds within 36-48 hours. Since natural killer (NK) cells have been shown to play an important role in influenza-specific immunity, we hypothesise that NK cells are involved in this difference in pathogenicity. To investigate this, the role of chicken NK-cells in LPAI virus infection was studied. Next activation of lung NK cells upon HPAI virus infection was analysed. Infection with a H9N2 LPAI virus resulted in the presence of viral RNA in the lungs which coincided with enhanced activation of lung NK cells. The presence of H5N1 viruses, measured by detection of viral RNA, did not induce activation of lung NK cells. This suggests that decreased NK-cell activation may be one of the mechanisms associated with the enhanced pathogenicity of H5N1 viruses.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · Scientific Reports
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    • "To test whether blocking of NA activity would directly affect the killing of influenza-virus-infected cells, we performed NK cytotoxicity assays using the Jeg3 cell line, which is negative for known NK ligands (Achdout et al., 2010) and human NK cells. "
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    ABSTRACT: Natural killer (NK) cells play an essential role in the defense against influenza virus, one of the deadliest respiratory viruses known today. The NKp46 receptor, expressed by NK cells, is critical for controlling influenza infections, as influenza-virus-infected cells are eliminated through the recognition of the viral hemagglutinin (HA) protein by NKp46. Here, we describe an immune-evasion mechanism of influenza viruses that is mediated by the neuraminidase (NA) protein. By using various NA blockers, we show that NA removes sialic acid residues from NKp46 and that this leads to reduced recognition of HA. Furthermore, we provide in vivo and in vitro evidence for the existence of this NA-mediated, NKp46-dependent immune-evasion mechanism and demonstrate that NA inhibitors, which are commonly used for the treatment of influenza infections, are useful not only as blockers of virus budding but also as boosters of NKp46 recognition.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2013 · Cell Reports
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