Molecular phylogeny and evolutionary dynamics of influenza A nonstructural (NS) gene

Jianpeng Xu, Haizhen A. Zhong, Alex Madrahimov, Tomáš Helikar, Guoqing Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


While the nonstructural gene (NS) of the influenza A virus plays a crucial role in viral virulence and replication, the complete understanding of its molecular phylogeny and evolutionary dynamics remains lacking. In this study, the phylogenetic analysis of 7581 NS sequences revealed ten distinct lineages within alleles A and B: three host-specific (human, classical swine and equine), two reassortment-originated (A(H1N1)pdm09 and triple reassortment swine), one transmission-originated (Eurasian swine), and two geographically isolated avian (Eurasian/Oceanian and North American) for allele A and two geographically isolated avian (Eurasian/Oceanian and North American) for allele B. The average nucleotide substitution rates of the lineages range from 1.24×10-3 (equine) to 4.34×10-3 (A(H1N1)pdm09) substitutions per site per year. The selection pressure analysis demonstrated that the dN/dS ratio of the NS gene in A(H1N1)pdm09 lineage was higher than its closely related triple reassortant swine, which could be attributed to the adaptation to the new host and/or intensive surveillance after the inter-species transmission from swine to human. The positive selection sites were found in all lineages except the equine lineage and mostly in the NS1 region. The positive selection sites 22, 26, 226, 227 and 230 of the human lineage are significant because these residues participate in either forming the dimerization of the two RNA binding domain (RBD) monomers or blocking the replication of host genes. Residues at position 171 provide hydrophobic interactions with hydrophobic residues at p85β and thus induce viral cell growth. The lineages and evolutionary dynamics of influenza A NS gene obtained in this study, along with the studies of other gene segments, are expected to improve the early detection of new viruses and thus have the potential to enhance influenza surveillance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-200
Number of pages9
JournalInfection, Genetics and Evolution
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Evolutionary dynamics
  • Influenza A virus
  • Lineage assignment
  • Nonstructural (NS) gene
  • Phylogeny

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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