Identification and characterization of viral defective RNA genomes in influenza B virus

Zizhang Sheng, Runxia Liu, Jieshi Yu, Zhiguang Ran, Simon J. Newkirk, Wenfeng An, Feng Li, Dan Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Influenza B virus (FLUBV) is an important pathogen that infects humans and causes seasonal influenza epidemics. To date, little is known about defective genomes of FLUBV and their roles in viral replication. In this study, by using a next-generation sequencing approach, we analyzed total mRNAs extracted from A549 cells infected with B/Brisbane/60/2008 virus (Victoria lineage), and identified four defective FLUBV genomes with two (PB1ΔA and PB1ΔB) from the polymerase basic subunit 1 (PB1) segment and the other two (MΔA and MΔB) from the matrix (M) protein-encoding segment. These defective genomes contained significant deletions in the central regions with each having the potential for encoding a novel polypeptide. Significantly, each of the discovered defective RNAs can potently inhibit the replication of B/Yamanashi/166/98 (Yamagata lineage). Furthermore, PB1ΔA was able to interfere modestly with influenza A virus (FLUAV) replication. In summary, our study provides important initial insights into FLUBV defective-interfering genomes, which can be further explored to achieve better understanding of the replication, pathogenesis and evolution of FLUBV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-488
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of General Virology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was funded by South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station (3AH-477 to F. L.), the National Science Foundation/EPSCoR Cooperative Agreement #IIA-1355423, the South Dakota Research and Innovation Center, and BioSNTR, and NIH AI121906 (sub-award to D. W.).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Authors.


  • Defective RNA genomes
  • Influenza B virus
  • Interfering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology


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