Absence of adaptive evolution is the main barrier against influenza emergence in horses in Asia despite frequent virus interspecies transmission from wild birds

Zhu, H. et al. (2019) Absence of adaptive evolution is the main barrier against influenza emergence in horses in Asia despite frequent virus interspecies transmission from wild birds. PLoS Pathogens, 15(2), e1007531. (doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1007531) (PMID:30731004) (PMCID:PMC6366691)

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Virus ecology and evolution play a central role in disease emergence. However, their relative roles will vary depending on the viruses and ecosystems involved. We combined field studies, phylogenetics and experimental infections to document with unprecedented detail the stages that precede initial outbreaks during viral emergence in nature. Using serological surveys we showed that in the absence of large-scale outbreaks, horses in Mongolia are routinely exposed to and infected by avian influenza viruses (AIVs) circulating among wild birds. Some of those AIVs are genetically related to an avian-origin virus that caused an epizootic in horses in 1989. Experimental infections showed that most AIVs replicate in the equine respiratory tract without causing lesions, explaining the absence of outbreaks of disease. Our results show that AIVs infect horses but do not spread, or they infect and spread but do not cause disease. Thus, the failure of AIVs to evolve greater transmissibility and to cause disease in horses is in this case the main barrier preventing disease emergence.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Zhu, Henan and Amat, Mr Julien and Gilbert, Martin and Crispell, JOANNA and Hughes, Dr Joseph and Marshall, Dr John and Parr, Ms Yasmin and Patrono, Miss Livia and Gonzalez, Ms Gaelle and Murcia, Professor Pablo
Creator Roles:
Zhu, H.Formal analysis, Investigation, Writing – review and editing
Gonzalez, G.Investigation, Writing – review and editing
Patrono, L. V.Investigation, Writing – review and editing
Amat, J. A.R.Formal analysis, Writing – review and editing
Crispell, J.Investigation, Writing – review and editing
Parr, Y. A.Investigation, Writing – review and editing
Marshall, J. F.Investigation, Writing – review and editing
Hughes, J.Data curation, Investigation, Writing – review and editing
Gilbert, M.Conceptualization, Funding acquisition, Writing – review and editing
Murcia, P. R.Conceptualization, Formal analysis, Funding acquisition, Methodology, Project administration, Supervision, Writing – original draft, Writing – review and editing
Authors: Zhu, H., Damdinjav, B., Gonzalez, G., Patrono, L. V., Ramirez-Mendoza, H., Amat, J. A.R., Crispell, J., Parr, Y. A., Hammond, T.-a., Shiilegdamba, E., Leung, Y.H. C., Peiris, M., Marshall, J. F., Hughes, J., Gilbert, M., and Murcia, P. R.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection Immunity and Inflammation
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:PLoS Pathogens
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN (Online):1553-7374
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 Zhu et al.
First Published:First published in PLoS Pathogens 15(2): e1007531
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
709011Quinquennial Core FundsMassimo PalmariniMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12014/9MVLS III - CENTRE FOR VIRUS RESEARCH