The cellular protein tetherin is thought to act as a 'leash' that anchors many enveloped viruses to the plasma membrane and prevents their release. We found that replication of multiple strains of influenza A virus was generally insensitive to alteration of tetherin levels, as assessed by output titre or scanning electron microscopy of cell associated virions. This included human, swine, avian and equine isolates, strains that form filamentous or spherical particles and viruses that lack the M2 or NS1 proteins. Levels of cell-surface tetherin were not reduced by influenza infection, but tetherin and the viral hemagglutinin colocalised on the plasma membrane. However, tetherin could not be detected in filamentous virions, suggesting that influenza may possess a mechanism to exclude it from virions. Overall, if influenza does encode a specific antagonist of tetherin, it is not M2 or NS1 and we find no evidence for a role in host range specificity.
Bibliographical noteOther: First published on-line 18th January 2012
Bruce, EA., Abbink, TE., Wise, HM., Rollason, R., Galao, RP., Banting, G., Neil, SJ., & Digard, P. (2012). Release of filamentous and spherical influenza A virus is not restricted by tetherin. Journal of General Virology, 93(5), 963 - 969. https://doi.org/10.1099/vir.0.038778-0