Why Does Influenza B Only Infect Humans?

Why Does Influenza B Only Infect Humans?

Author: ChemistryViews

The influenza B virus has been found only in humans. Understanding why this is could lead to improved understanding of how the more virulent influenza A strains are able to cross species and ways to prevent it.

Gaetano Montelione and colleagues, Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA, have determined the crystal structure of the influenza B virus and identified its target protein. The N-terminal region of protein NS1B (pictured as the solid form) interacts with two interferon-stimulated gene 15 (ISG15) molecules (pink and purple). The primary contact region is composed of residues at the junction of the N-terminal ubiquitin-like (Ubl) domain and the short linker region between the two Ubl domains.

Only human and non-human primate ISG15 proteins have this sequence of short linker (blue) which explains why influenza B cannot infect other species.

Image: © Rongjin Guan, et. al. Rutgers and Univ. of Texas, Austin


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *