Infection with human H1N1 influenza virus affects the expression of sialic acids of metaplastic mucous cells in the ferret airways.

Research paper by S S Kirkeby, C J M CJ Martel, B B Aasted

Indexed on: 19 May '09Published on: 19 May '09Published in: Virus Research


Glycans terminating in sialic acids serve as receptors for influenza viruses. In this study ferrets were infected with influenza virus A/New Caledonia/20/99, and the in situ localization of sialic acids linked alpha2-3 and alpha2-6 in the airways was investigated in infected and non-infected animals by use of sialic acid detecting lectins and a monoclonal antibody towards the Sialyl-Tn antigen. The goblet cells in the bronchi from non-infected ferrets expressed Sialyl alpha 2-6Gal glycans, while the seromucinous glands in the submucosa expressed Sialyl alpha 2-3Gal glycans. In the infected animals, the surface epithelial cells in some bronchi showed metaplasia and expressed the Sialyl-Tn antigen: Sialyl alpha 2-6GalNAc-O-Thr/Ser. The submucosal tracheal glands in these animals showed increased expression of both Sialyl alpha 2-3 and Sialyl alpha 2-6 epitopes.