With a little help from my host

Three new host factors support influenza virus replication

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Influenza virus is notorious for its high variability —achieved through genome segment reassortment and the high mutation rates inherent to RNA viruses (quasispecies ring a bell?)— which leads to very rapid selection of resistance to antiviral compounds. In addition to ongoing efforts to develop a universal flu vaccine, with promising recent results using headless hemagglutinin immunogens reported by Impagliazzo et al. and Yassine et al., there is a strong push to identify host factors necessary for influenza virus pathogenesis. These could, notwithstanding potential toxicity issues, become targets of future therapeutics to treat flu.

In this vein, Wendy Barclay’s lab has just identified ANP32A as an essential host factor necessary for optimal influenza virus replication; nicely, species-specific differences in ANP32A sequence underlie the restriction of avian-adapted influenza virus in mammalian cells. Kyosuke Nagata and colleagues report that influenza also requires pp32 and APRIL for viral RNA replication. These three proteins therefore join the potential drug target armamentarium and, at a minimum, help us understand how influenza co-opts host processes to complete its life cycle. Aren’t viruses remarkable machines (or is it just me)?

Nonia Pariente

Chief Editor, Nature Microbiology

I come from a mid-sized city on the northwestern coast of Spain. My interest in science initially took me to Madrid, where I finished university and received a PhD in molecular biology. In Madrid, I studied RNA virus evolution and new antiviral strategies with Esteban Domingo. I then moved to UCLA, where I focused on developing lentiviral vectors for gene therapy in Irvin Chen’s laboratory. In 2007, I made the plunge from bench to desk and joined the EMBO Reports editorial team as Reviews Editor, becoming Scientific Editor two years later and Senior Editor in 2012. At EMBO Reports, I was responsible for microbiology and immunology, among other areas, and spent many years expanding my understanding and love for all things microbial. In the summer of 2015, I joined the Nature Microbiology editorial launch team, handling all things related to virology and mycology (and for a brief while parasitology) and -after a couple of stints covering microbiology at Nature- I became the Chief Editor of Nature Microbiology in 2019. I look forward to interacting with the community and providing a venue to publish the most important advances in the field.