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Phylogeny, Pathogenicity, Transmission, and Host Immune Responses of Four H5N6 Avian Influenza Viruses in Chickens and Mice

1
College of Veterinary Medicine, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China
2
China Institute of Veterinary Drug Control, Beijing 100081, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Viruses 2019, 11(11), 1048; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11111048
Received: 10 October 2019 / Revised: 5 November 2019 / Accepted: 7 November 2019 / Published: 10 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Viruses: Surveillance, Prevention, Evolution and Control)
H5Nx viruses have continuously emerged in the world, causing poultry industry losses and posing a potential public health risk. Here, we studied the phylogeny, pathogenicity, transmission, and immune response of four H5N6 avian influenza viruses in chickens and mice, which were isolated from waterfowl between 2013 and 2014. Their HA genes belong to Clade 2.3.4.4, circulated in China since 2008. Their NA genes fall into N6-like/Eurasian sublineage. Their internal genes originated from different H5N1 viruses. The results suggested that the four H5N6 viruses were reassortants of the H5N1 and H6N6 viruses. They cause lethal infection with high transmission capability in chickens. They also cause mild to severe pathogenicity in mice and can spread to the brain through the blood–brain barrier. During the infection, the viruses result in the up-regulation of PRRs and cytokine in brains and lungs of chickens and mice. Our results suggested that the high viral loads of several organs may result in disease severity in chickens and mice; there were varying levels of cytokines induced by the H5N6 viruses with different pathogenicity in chickens and mice. View Full-Text
Keywords: H5N6 avian influenza virus; evolution; pathogenicity; transmission; immune responses; chicken; mice H5N6 avian influenza virus; evolution; pathogenicity; transmission; immune responses; chicken; mice
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Song, Y.; Li, W.; Wu, W.; Liu, Z.; He, Z.; Chen, Z.; Zhao, B.; Wu, S.; Yang, C.; Qu, X.; Liao, M.; Jiao, P. Phylogeny, Pathogenicity, Transmission, and Host Immune Responses of Four H5N6 Avian Influenza Viruses in Chickens and Mice. Viruses 2019, 11, 1048.

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