The role of cell surface expression of influenza virus neuraminidase in induction of human lymphocyte apoptosis

Joan Nichols, Jean A. Niles, Elisa H. Fleming, Norbert J. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


The immunopathological mechanisms as well as the role played by influenza A virus infection of human leukocytes and induction of apoptosis have not been fully elucidated. We confirm here that the percentage of cells that are infected is less than the percent of apoptotic cells. Depletion of monocytes/macrophages and depletion of cells expressing influenza neuraminidase from the cultures after exposure to virus decreased lymphocyte apoptosis. Treatment of virus-exposed leukocyte cultures with anti-neuraminidase antibodies but not with anti-hemagglutinin antibodies, reduced lymphocyte production of active caspase-3 and induction of apoptosis. Different strains of virus induced different levels of apoptosis. Variations in induction of apoptosis correlated with production and expression of viral neuraminidase by infected leukocytes. The data suggest that cell surface expression of neuraminidase plays an important role in the induction of apoptosis in human lymphocytes. The benefit, or cost, to the host of lymphocyte apoptosis warrants continued investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-86
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019



  • Apoptosis
  • Human lymphocytes
  • Human macrophages
  • Human monocytes
  • Influenza virus
  • Neuraminidase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology

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