Glycan microarray technologies: tools to survey host specificity of influenza viruses


New technologies are urgently required for rapid surveillance of the current H5N1 avian influenza A outbreaks to gauge the potential for adaptation of the virus to the human population, a crucial step in the emergence of pandemic influenza virus strains. Owing to the species-specific nature of the interaction between the virus and host glycans, attention has recently focused on novel glycan array technologies that can rapidly assess virus receptor specificity and the potential emergence of human-adapted H5N1 viruses.

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Figure 1: Glycans and influenza virus specificity.
Figure 2: Known mechanisms for the emergence of pandemic influenza A virus strains.
Figure 3: Schematic representation of the two assays for analysis of the influenza A virus receptor-binding domain.
Figure 4: Glycan microarray analysis of human H1, human H3, avian H5 and duck H3 influenza virus haemagglutinins.


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The work was supported in part by grants from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. The authors thank Ruben Donis for suggestions. This is publication 18250 from the Scripps Research Institute.

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