Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 32323899
Link to DOI – 10.1002/JLB.4MR0320-206R
J Leukoc Biol 2020 05; 107(5): 763-771
Influenza A virus (IAV) causes not only seasonal respiratory illness, but also outbreaks of more severe disease and pandemics when novel strains emerge as a result of reassortment or interspecies transmission. PB1-F2 is an IAV protein expressed from the second open reading frame of PB1 gene. Small as it is, PB1-F2 is a critical virulence factor. Multiple key amino acid residues and motifs of PB1-F2 have been shown to influence the virulence of IAV in a strain- and host-specific manner, plausibly through the induction of apoptotic cell death, modulation of type I IFN response, activation of inflammasome, and facilitation of secondary bacterial infection. However, the exact role of PB1-F2 in IAV pathogenesis remains unexplained. Through reanalysis of the current literature, we redefine PB1-F2 as an ambivalent innate immune modulator that determines IAV infection outcome through induction of immune cell death, differential modulation of early- and late-type I IFN response, and promotion of pathogenic inflammation. PB1-F2 functions both intracellularly and extracellularly. Further investigations of the mechanistic details of PB1-F2 action will shed new light on immunopathogenesis of IAV infection.