Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2014 Jul 20. [Epub ahead of print]
Molecular Determinants of Influenza Virus Pathogenesis in Mice.
Mice are widely used for studying influenza virus pathogenesis and immunology because of their low cost, the wide availability of mouse-specific reagents, and the large number of mouse strains available, including knockout and transgenic strains. However, mice do not fully recapitulate the signs of influenza infection of humans: transmission of influenza between mice is much less efficient than in humans, and influenza viruses often require adaptation before they are able to efficiently replicate in mice. In the process of mouse adaptation, influenza viruses acquire mutations that enhance their ability to attach to mouse cells, replicate within the cells, and suppress immunity, among other functions. Many such mouse-adaptive mutations have been identified, covering all 8 genomic segments of the virus. Identification and analysis of these mutations have provided insight into the molecular determinants of influenza virulence and pathogenesis, not only in mice but also in humans and other species. In particular, several mouse-adaptive mutations of avian influenza viruses have proved to be general mammalian-adaptive changes that are potential markers of pre-pandemic viruses. As well as evaluating influenza pathogenesis, mice have also been used as models for evaluation of novel vaccines and anti-viral therapies. Mice can be a useful animal model for studying influenza biology as long as differences between human and mice infections are taken into account.
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