Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 19528219
Link to DOI – 10.1128/IAI.00155-09
Infect Immun 2009 Sep; 77(9): 3588-95
The underlying mechanisms of the epidemiological association between influenza virus infections and Neisseria meningitidis invasive infections are not fully understood. Here we report that adhesion of N. meningitidis to human Hec-1-B epithelial cells is enhanced by influenza A virus (IAV) infection. A potential role of the viral neuraminidase (NA) in facilitating meningococcal adhesion to influenza virus-infected epithelial cells was examined. Expression of a recombinant IAV NA in Hec-1-B human epithelial cells increased the adhesion of strains of N. meningitidis belonging to the sialic acid-containing capsular serogroups B, C, and W135 but not to the mannosamine phosphate-containing capsular serogroup A. Adhesion enhancement was not observed with an inactive NA mutant or in the presence of an NA inhibitor (zanamivir). Furthermore, purified IAV NA was shown to cleave sialic acid-containing capsular polysaccharides of N. meningitidis. On the whole, our findings suggest that a direct interaction between the NA of IAV and the capsule of N. meningitidis enhances bacterial adhesion to cultured epithelial cells, most likely through cleavage of capsular sialic acid-containing polysaccharides. A better understanding of the association between IAV and invasive meningococcal infections should help to set up improved control strategies against these seasonal dual viral-bacterial infections.