Pyrosequencing as a tool to detect molecular markers of resistance to neuraminidase inhibitors in seasonal influenza A viruses

Varough M. Deyde, Margaret Okomo-Adhiambo, Tiffany G. Sheu, Teresa R. Wallis, Alicia Fry, Nila Dharan, Alexander I. Klimov, Larisa V. Gubareva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Pyrosequencing has been successfully used to monitor resistance in influenza A viruses to the first class of anti-influenza drugs, M2 blockers (adamantanes). In contrast to M2 blockers, resistance to neuraminidase (NA) inhibitors (NAIs) is subtype- and drug-specific. Here, we designed a pyrosequencing assay for detection of the most commonly reported mutations associated with resistance to NAIs, a newer class of anti-influenza drugs. These common mutations occur at residues: H274 (N1), E119 (N2), R292 (N2), and N294 (N2) in seasonal influenza A viruses. Additionally, we designed primers to detect substitutions at D151 in NAs of N1 and N2 subtypes. This assay allows detection of mutations associated with resistance not only in grown viruses but also in clinical specimens, thus reducing the time needed for testing and providing an advantage for disease outbreak investigation and management. The pyrosequencing approach also allows the detection of mixed populations of virus variants at positions of interest. Analysis of viruses in the original clinical specimens reduces the potential for introducing genetic variance in the virus population due to selection by cell culture. Our results showed that, in at least one instance, a D151E change seen in N1NA after virus propagation in cell culture was not detected in the original clinical specimen. Although the pyrosequencing assay allows high throughput screening for established genetic markers of antiviral resistance, it is not a replacement for the NA inhibition assays due to insufficient knowledge of the molecular mechanisms of the NAI-resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-24
Number of pages9
JournalAntiviral Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009


  • Antiviral
  • Influenza A virus
  • Oseltamivir
  • Pyrosequencing
  • Zanamivir

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Virology


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