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Centenary of the 1918 influenza pandemic

2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the 1918 influenza pandemic, which claimed ~50 million lives. The introduction of influenza viruses and subsequent adaptation to humans, which enabled human-to-human transmission, continues to pose a constant threat of a future pandemic. Despite the efforts to develop antiviral drugs and vaccines, improved surveillance and prevention strategies, influenza viruses continue to circulate in human populations and cause seasonal influenza epidemics around the world each year. In light of the rapid evolution of the virus, globalization, the growing human population and the magnitude of intercontinental travel, outbreaks on the scale of the 1918 influenza pandemic would even today have a devastating effect. This collection includes Reviews and Research articles from across the Nature group of journals to showcase the latest advances in our understanding of influenza virus biology, evolution and adaptation, and advances in surveillance and drug and vaccine development. 


  • Nature Reviews Microbiology | Review Article

    Seasonal influenza viruses continue to cause epidemics each year. In this Review, Petrova and Russell discuss recent advances in understanding the molecular determinants of influenza virus immune escape, sources of evolutionary selection pressure, population dynamics of influenza viruses and prospects for better influenza virus control.

    • Velislava N. Petrova
    •  &  Colin A. Russell
  • Nature Reviews Microbiology | Review Article

    In this Review, te Velthuis and Fodor detail the recently obtained high-resolution structures of the influenza virus RNA polymerase and the insights that have been gained into the mechanisms of viral transcription and replication. They also discuss how these structural data could help to identify novel antiviral targets.

    • Aartjan J. W. te Velthuis
    •  &  Ervin Fodor
  • Nature Reviews Microbiology | Review Article

    In this Review, McDonald et al. describe the mechanisms and outcomes of reassortment for three well-studied viral families — Cystoviridae, Orthomyxoviridae and Reoviridae — and discuss how these findings provide new perspectives on the replication and evolution of segmented RNA viruses.

    • Sarah M. McDonald
    • , Martha I. Nelson
    • , Paul E. Turner
    •  &  John T. Patton
  • Nature Reviews Microbiology | Review Article

    Mortality from influenza viruses is strongly linked to secondary bacterial invaders. Here, Jonathan A. McCullers reviews viral and bacterial virulence factors that contribute to the pathogenesis of co-infections by disrupting physical barriers, dysregulating immune responses and delaying a return to homeostasis.

    • Jonathan A. McCullers
  • Nature Reviews Microbiology | Review Article

    The shift in the receptor-binding specificity of influenza A viruses is mostly determined by mutations in viral haemagglutinin. In this Review, Gao and colleagues discuss recent crystallographic studies that provide molecular insights into haemagglutinin–host receptor interactions that have enabled several influenza A virus subtypes to 'jump' from avian to human hosts.

    • Yi Shi
    • , Ying Wu
    • , Wei Zhang
    • , Jianxun Qi
    •  &  George F. Gao
  • Nature Reviews Microbiology | Review Article

    Influenza A virus has only eight genes, so it is dependent on host proteins and pathways to mediate viral ribonucleoprotein (vRNP) trafficking and to promote vRNP functions at all stages of the virus life cycle. Here, Kawaoka and colleagues describe the trafficking and functions of influenza A vRNPs in host cells, emphasizing how vRNPs interact with and depend on host factors and pathways, how vRNP structure contributes to its function and the key open questions that still need to be answered.

    • Amie J. Eisfeld
    • , Gabriele Neumann
    •  &  Yoshihiro Kawaoka


  • Nature Microbiology | Article

    This study reports the identification of broadly protective antibodies targeting the influenza B neuraminidase away from its active site. One dose of antibody therapy was more protective in mice than multiple doses of the current standard of care.

    • Teddy John Wohlbold
    • , Kira A. Podolsky
    • , Veronika Chromikova
    • , Ericka Kirkpatrick
    • , Veronica Falconieri
    • , Philip Meade
    • , Fatima Amanat
    • , Jessica Tan
    • , Benjamin R. tenOever
    • , Gene S. Tan
    • , Sriram Subramaniam
    • , Peter Palese
    •  &  Florian Krammer
  • Nature Microbiology | Letter

    Influenza virus infection produces double-stranded RNA precursors that are converted to small interfering RNAs by host Dicer; this RNA interference mechanism is inhibited by viral protein NS1.

    • Yang Li
    • , Megha Basavappa
    • , Jinfeng Lu
    • , Shuwei Dong
    • , D. Alexander Cronkite
    • , John T. Prior
    • , Hans-Christian Reinecker
    • , Paul Hertzog
    • , Yanhong Han
    • , Wan-Xiang Li
    • , Sihem Cheloufi
    • , Fedor V. Karginov
    • , Shou-Wei Ding
    •  &  Kate L. Jeffrey
  • Nature Microbiology | Letter

    Influenza A virus polymerase has a β-hairpin in the thumb subdomain, which is shown to be essential for the initiation of viral replication, but auxiliary for other replicative steps and viral transcription.

    • Aartjan J. W. te Velthuis
    • , Nicole C. Robb
    • , Achillefs N. Kapanidis
    •  &  Ervin Fodor
  • Nature Microbiology | Article

    Antigenic variants from human H1N1 and H3N2 influenza virus libraries possessing random mutations in the haemagglutinin protein, selected by incubation with human and/or ferret convalescent sera, identify escape variants similar to those that have emerged in nature.

    • Chengjun Li
    • , Masato Hatta
    • , David F. Burke
    • , Jihui Ping
    • , Ying Zhang
    • , Makoto Ozawa
    • , Andrew S. Taft
    • , Subash C. Das
    • , Anthony P. Hanson
    • , Jiasheng Song
    • , Masaki Imai
    • , Peter R. Wilker
    • , Tokiko Watanabe
    • , Shinji Watanabe
    • , Mutsumi Ito
    • , Kiyoko Iwatsuki-Horimoto
    • , Colin A. Russell
    • , Sarah L. James
    • , Eugene Skepner
    • , Eileen A. Maher
    • , Gabriele Neumann
    • , Alexander I. Klimov
    • , Anne Kelso
    • , John McCauley
    • , Dayan Wang
    • , Yuelong Shu
    • , Takato Odagiri
    • , Masato Tashiro
    • , Xiyan Xu
    • , David E. Wentworth
    • , Jacqueline M. Katz
    • , Nancy J. Cox
    • , Derek J. Smith
    •  &  Yoshihiro Kawaoka
  • Nature | Letter

    The crystal structure of bat influenza A polymerase bound to a serine-5 phosphorylated peptide mimic from the C-terminal domain of cellular RNA polymerase II shows how the two polymerases are directly coupled and suggests that the interaction site could be targeted for antiviral drug development.

    • Maria Lukarska
    • , Guillaume Fournier
    • , Alexander Pflug
    • , Patricia Resa-Infante
    • , Stefan Reich
    • , Nadia Naffakh
    •  &  Stephen Cusack
  • Nature | Letter

    The host protein ANP32A is shown here to be a species barrier to the function of avian influenza virus polymerase in mammalian cells; the mutation E627K in viral protein PB2, which allows mammalian ANP32 family proteins to support the avian virus polymerase, is known to be associated with increased virulence of avian viruses in mammals.

    • Jason S. Long
    • , Efstathios S. Giotis
    • , Olivier Moncorgé
    • , Rebecca Frise
    • , Bhakti Mistry
    • , Joe James
    • , Mireille Morisson
    • , Munir Iqbal
    • , Alain Vignal
    • , Michael A. Skinner
    •  &  Wendy S. Barclay

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