Lipid-dependence of target membrane stability during influenza viral fusion. Academic Article uri icon


  • Although influenza kills about a half million people each year, even after excluding pandemics, there is only one set of antiviral drugs: neuraminidase inhibitors. By using a new approach utilizing giant unilamellar vesicles and infectious X-31 influenza virus, and testing for the newly identified pore intermediate of membrane fusion, we observed ?30-87% poration, depending upon lipid composition. Testing the hypothesis that spontaneous curvature (SC) of the lipid monolayer controls membrane poration, our Poisson model and Boltzmann energetic considerations suggest a transition from a leaky to a non-leaky fusion pathway depending on the SC of the target membrane. When the target membrane SC is below approximately -0.20?nm-1 fusion between influenza virus and target membrane is predominantly non-leaky while above that fusion is predominantly leaky, suggesting that influenza hemagglutinin (HA)-catalyzed topological conversion of target membranes during fusion is associated with a loss of membrane integrity.

publication date

  • August 10, 2018