Influenza D binding properties vary amongst the two major virus clades and wildlife species

Nikoloz Nemanichvili, Alinda J Berends, Ilhan Tomris, Karen N Barnard, Colin R Parrish, Andrea Gröne, Jolianne M Rijks, Monique H Verheije, Robert P de Vries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The influenza D virus (IDV) uses a trimeric hemagglutinin-esterase fusion protein (HEF) for attachment to 9-O-acetylated sialic acid receptors on the cell surface of host species. So far research has revealed that farm animals such as cattle, domestic pigs, goats, sheep and horses contain the necessary receptors on the epithelial surface of the respiratory tract to accommodate binding of the IDV HEF protein of both worldwide clades D/Oklahoma (D/OK) and D/Oklahoma/660 (D/660). More recently, seroprevalence studies have identified IDV-seropositive wildlife such as wild boar, deer, dromedaries, and small ruminants. However, no research has thus far been conducted in wildlife to reveal the distribution of acetylated sialic acid receptors that accommodate binding of IDV. Using our previously developed tissue microarray (TMA) system, we developed TMAs containing respiratory tissues of various wild and domestic species including wild boar, deer, dromedary, springbok, water buffalo, tiger, hedgehog, and Asian elephant. Protein histochemical staining of these TMAs with HEF proteins showed no receptor binding for wild Suidae, Cervidae and tiger. However, receptors were present in dromedary, springbok, water buffalo, Asian elephant, and hedgehog. In contrast to previously tested farm animals, a difference in host tropism was observed between the D/OK and D/660 clade HEF proteins in Asian elephant, and water buffalo. These results show that IDV can attach to the respiratory tract of wildlife which might facilitate transmission of IDV between wildlife and domestic animals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109298
Pages (from-to)1-8
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Early online date7 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • 9-O-acetylated sialic acid
  • Host tropism
  • Influenza D
  • Tissue microarray
  • Wildlife


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