Egg-adaptive mutations of human influenza H3N2 virus are contingent on natural evolution

Weiwen Liang, Timothy J.C. Tan, Yiquan Wang, Huibin Lv, Yuanxin Sun, Roberto Bruzzone, Chris K.P. Mok, Nicholas C. Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Egg-adaptive mutations in influenza hemagglutinin (HA) often emerge during the production of egg-based seasonal influenza vaccines, which contribute to the largest share in the global influenza vaccine market. While some egg-adaptive mutations have minimal impact on the HA antigenicity (e.g. G186V), others can alter it (e.g. L194P). Here, we show that the preference of egg-adaptive mutation in human H3N2 HA is strain-dependent. In particular, Thr160 and Asn190, which are found in many recent H3N2 strains, restrict the emergence of L194P but not G186V. Our results further suggest that natural amino acid variants at other HA residues also play a role in determining the preference of egg-adaptive mutation. Consistently, recent human H3N2 strains from different clades acquire different mutations during egg passaging. Overall, these results demonstrate that natural mutations in human H3N2 HA can influence the preference of egg-adaptation mutation, which has important implications in seed strain selection for egg-based influenza vaccine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1010875
JournalPLoS pathogens
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Virology
  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology


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