Influenza virus-glycan interactions


Air GM. Influenza virus-glycan interactions. Curr Opin Virol. 2014;7 :128-33.

Date Published:

2014 Aug


It has been known for many years that influenza viruses bind by their hemagglutinin surface glycoprotein to sialic acid (N-acetylneuraminic acid) on the surface of the host cell, and that avian viruses most commonly bind to sialic acid linked α2-3 to galactose while most human viruses bind to sialic acid in the α2-6 configuration. Over the past few years there has been a large increase in data on this binding due to technological advances in glycan binding assays, reverse genetic systems for influenza and in X-ray crystallography. The results show some surprising changes in binding specificity that do not appear to affect the ability of the virus to infect host cells.