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Alternative Experimental Models for Studying Influenza Proteins, Host–Virus Interactions and Anti-Influenza Drugs

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Department of Physiology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117593, Singapore
2
NUS Immunology Program, Life Sciences Institute, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117456, Singapore
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CREATE-NUS-HUJ Molecular Mechanisms of Inflammatory Diseases Programme, National University of Singapore, Singapore 138602, Singapore
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Department of Microbiology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117545, Singapore
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Department of Biological Chemistry, The Institute of Life Science, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 9190401, Israel
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12(4), 147; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph12040147
Received: 19 August 2019 / Revised: 11 September 2019 / Accepted: 12 September 2019 / Published: 30 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Anti-Influenza Therapeutics)
Ninety years after the discovery of the virus causing the influenza disease, this malady remains one of the biggest public health threats to mankind. Currently available drugs and vaccines only partially reduce deaths and hospitalizations. Some of the reasons for this disturbing situation stem from the sophistication of the viral machinery, but another reason is the lack of a complete understanding of the molecular and physiological basis of viral infections and host–pathogen interactions. Even the functions of the influenza proteins, their mechanisms of action and interaction with host proteins have not been fully revealed. These questions have traditionally been studied in mammalian animal models, mainly ferrets and mice (as well as pigs and non-human primates) and in cell lines. Although obviously relevant as models to humans, these experimental systems are very complex and are not conveniently accessible to various genetic, molecular and biochemical approaches. The fact that influenza remains an unsolved problem, in combination with the limitations of the conventional experimental models, motivated increasing attempts to use the power of other models, such as low eukaryotes, including invertebrate, and primary cell cultures. In this review, we summarized the efforts to study influenza in yeast, Drosophila, zebrafish and primary human tissue cultures and the major contributions these studies have made toward a better understanding of the disease. We feel that these models are still under-utilized and we highlight the unique potential each model has for better comprehending virus–host interactions and viral protein function. View Full-Text
Keywords: influenza; MDCK; A549; ferrets; mice; pigs; macaque; yeast; S. cerevisiae; Drosophila; zebrafish; human nasal epithelial cells; human bronchial epithelial cells; alveolar epithelial cells influenza; MDCK; A549; ferrets; mice; pigs; macaque; yeast; S. cerevisiae; Drosophila; zebrafish; human nasal epithelial cells; human bronchial epithelial cells; alveolar epithelial cells
MDPI and ACS Style

Chua, S.C.J.H.; Tan, H.Q.; Engelberg, D.; Lim, L.H.K. Alternative Experimental Models for Studying Influenza Proteins, Host–Virus Interactions and Anti-Influenza Drugs. Pharmaceuticals 2019, 12, 147.

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