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Open AccessArticle

A New Strategy to Reduce Influenza Escape: Detecting Therapeutic Targets Constituted of Invariance Groups

1,2 and 1,2,*
Paris Diderot University, University Sorbonne Paris Cité, F-75013 Paris, France
Epôle de Génoinformatique, Institut Jacques Monod, UMR7592, CNRS, F-75013 Paris, France
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Curt Hagedorn
Viruses 2017, 9(3), 38;
Received: 15 September 2016 / Revised: 3 February 2017 / Accepted: 23 February 2017 / Published: 2 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Antivirals & Vaccines)
PDF [1761 KB, uploaded 6 March 2017]


The pathogenicity of the different flu species is a real public health problem worldwide. To combat this scourge, we established a method to detect drug targets, reducing the possibility of escape. Besides being able to attach a drug candidate, these targets should have the main characteristic of being part of an essential viral function. The invariance groups that are sets of residues bearing an essential function can be detected genetically. They consist of invariant and synthetic lethal residues (interdependent residues not varying or slightly varying when together). We analyzed an alignment of more than 10,000 hemagglutinin sequences of influenza to detect six invariance groups, close in space, and on the protein surface. In parallel we identified five potential pockets on the surface of hemagglutinin. By combining these results, three potential binding sites were determined that are composed of invariance groups located respectively in the vestigial esterase domain, in the bottom of the stem and in the fusion area. The latter target is constituted of residues involved in the spring-loaded mechanism, an essential step in the fusion process. We propose a model describing how this potential target could block the reorganization of the hemagglutinin HA2 secondary structure and prevent viral entry into the host cell. View Full-Text
Keywords: resistance; bioinformatics; influenza; hemagglutinin; drug targets; synthetic lethality resistance; bioinformatics; influenza; hemagglutinin; drug targets; synthetic lethality

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Lao, J.; Vanet, A. A New Strategy to Reduce Influenza Escape: Detecting Therapeutic Targets Constituted of Invariance Groups. Viruses 2017, 9, 38.

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