Collections > UNC Scholarly Publications > BioMed Central > Airway protease/antiprotease imbalance in atopic asthmatics contributes to increased Influenza A virus cleavage and replication

Abstract Asthmatics are more susceptible to influenza infections, yet mechanisms mediating this enhanced susceptibility are unknown. Influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA) protein binds to sialic acid residues on the host cells. HA requires cleavage to allow fusion of the viral HA with host cell membrane, which is mediated by host trypsin-like serine protease. We show data here demonstrating that the protease:antiprotease ratio is increased in the nasal mucosa of asthmatics and that these changes were associated with increased proteolytic activation of influenza. These data suggest that disruption of the protease balance in asthmatics enhances activation and infection of influenza virus.