It is generally agreed that human influenza virus preferentially binds to α-2,6-linked sialic acid-containing receptors, and mutations that change the binding preference may alter virus infectivity and host tropism. Limited information is available on the glycan-binding specificity of epidemic influenza viruses. In this study, we systemically investigated the glycan-binding preferences of human influenza A(H3N2) viruses isolated from 1999 to 2007 in Taiwan using a high-throughput carbohydrate array. The binding patterns of 37 H3N2 viruses were classified into three groups with significant binding-pattern variations. The results showed that the carbohydrate-binding patterns of H3N2 varied over time. A phylogenetic analysis of the hemagglutinin gene also revealed progressive drift year to year. Of note, the viruses that caused large outbreaks in 1999 and 2003 showed glycan-binding preferences to both α-2,3 and α-2,6 sialylated glycans. Twenty amino acid substitutions were identified primarily at antigenic sites that might contribute to H3N2 virus evolution and the change in the glycan-binding patterns. This study provides not only a systematic analysis of the receptor-binding specificity of influenza clinical isolates but also information that could help to monitor the outbreak potential and virus evolution of influenza viruses.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)