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Research Abstracts Online
January 2010 - March 2011

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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
College of Veterinary Medicine
Department of Veterinary Population Medicine

PI: Marie R. Gramer

Influenza Viruses of Increased Virulence for Swine

The recent human pandemic and previous outbreaks of swine-origin influenza viruses in humans have brought to light the need for better understanding of this zoonotic disease. As influenza A viruses continue to emerge and evolve in North American swine, the complexity of these viruses makes the diagnosis and control of the disease difficult for veterinarians and pig producers alike. To address the gaps in knowledge about these viruses, these researchers have selected viruses from the Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Influenza Database for genetic analysis. The complete clinical history of these animals is available from the farm and the full genome of these viruses will be sequenced for molecular characterization. In order to compare changes in the virus over time, the analysis will include specific sites in the proteins that are known to play a role in immunity (e.g., epitope, glycosylation and binding sites). The researchers use protein modeling in the software program PyMOL to demonstrate the changes that occur on the three-dimensional level. The selection of influenza virus vaccine candidates and the development of tests for accurate diagnosis of influenza are dependent on the knowledge of the characteristics of the currently circulating viruses in any population. Knowing the genetic, antigenic and pathogenic features of viruses is important to prevent continued introduction of human and avian viruses into swine herds and the potential spillback of these viruses to humans.

Group Members

Susan E. Detmer, Graduate Student
Kevin C. Juleen, Staff
Srinand Sreevatsan, Faculty Collaborator