Identification of critical residues of influenza neuraminidase in viral particle release
Tisoncik, Jennifer R.
Cordero, Katie S.
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BACKGROUND: Influenza neuraminidase (NA) is essential for virus release from its host cells and it is one of the targets for structure-based antiviral drug design. RESULTS: In this report, we established a pseudoviral particle release assay to study NA function, which is based on lentiviral particles pseudotyped with influenza glycoproteins HA and NA as a surrogate system. Through an extensive molecular analysis, we sought to characterize important residues governing NA function. We identified five residues of NA, 234, 241, 257, 286 and 345, four of which (except 345) map away from the active site of NA when projected onto the three-dimensional structure of avian influenza H5N1 NA, and substitutions of these residues adversely affected the NA-mediated viral particle release, suggesting that these residues are critical for NA enzymatic activity. CONCLUSION: Through extensive chimeric and mutational analyses, we have identified several residues, which map away from the active site and are critical for NA function. These findings provide new insights into NA-mediated pseudoviral particle release and may have important implications in drug design and therapeutics against influenza infection.