The effectiveness of influenza vaccines against circulating A(H1N1) pdm09 viruses was modest for several seasons despite the absence of antigenic drift of hemagglutinin (HA), the primary vaccine component. Since antibodies against HA and neuraminidase (NA) contribute independently to protection against disease, antigenic changes in NA may allow A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses to escape from vaccineinduced immunity. In this study, analysis of the specificities of human NA-specific monoclonal antibodies identified antigenic sites that have changed over time. The impact of these differences on in vitro inhibition of enzyme activity was not evident for polyclonal antisera until viruses emerged in 2013 without a predicted glycosylation site at amino acid 386 in NA. Phylogenetic and antigenic cartography demonstrated significant antigenic changes that in most cases aligned with genetic differences. Typical of NA drift, the antigenic difference is observed in one direction, with antibodies against conserved antigenic domains in A/California/7/2009 (CA/09) continuing to inhibit NA of recent A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses reasonably well. However, ferret CA/09-specific antiserum that inhibited the NA of A/Michigan/45/2015 (MI/15) very well in vitro, protected mice against lethal MI/15 infection poorly. These data show that antiserum against the homologous antigen is most effective and suggest the antigenic properties of NA should not be overlooked when selecting viruses for vaccine production.

Additional Metadata
Keywords antigenic drift, influenza, monoclonal antibodies, neuraminidase, vaccines
Persistent URL,,
Journal MBIO
Gao, J, Couzens, L, Burke, D.F, Wan, H.Q., Wilson, P, Memoli, M.J., … Eichelberger, MC. (2019). Antigenic Drift of the Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 Virus Neuraminidase Results in Reduced Effectiveness of A/California/7/2009 (H1N1pdm09)-Specific Antibodies. MBIO, 10(2). doi:10.1128/mBio.00307-19