Notable Recent Publications

These are some recent publications which give a flavour of the research from the Barclay lab. For a complete list of publications, please see below.

Species difference in ANP32A underlies influenza A virus polymerase host restriction. Nature (2016).
Jason S. Long, Efstathios S. Giotis, Olivier Moncorgé, Rebecca Frise, Bhakti Mistry, Joe James, Mireille Morisson, Munir Iqbal, Alain Vignal, Michael A. Skinner & Wendy S. Barclay

This paper identified a key factor that explained why the polymerases from avian influenza viruses are restricted in humans.  For more, please see the associated New and Views.

See our latest ANP32 papers here: eLIFE, Journal of Virology, Journal of Virology.

The mechanism of resistance to favipiravir in influenza. PNAS (2018).
Daniel H. GoldhillAartjan J. W. te VelthuisRobert A. FletcherPinky LangatMaria ZambonAngie Lackenby & Wendy S. Barclay

This paper showed how influenza could evolve resistance to favipiravir, an antiviral that may be used to treat influenza. The residue that mutated to give resistance was highly conserved suggesting that the mechanism of resistance may be applicable to other RNA viruses.

Internal genes of a highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza virus determine high viral replication in myeloid cells and severe outcome of infection in mice. Plos Path. (2018).
Hui Li*, Konrad C. Bradley*, Jason S. Long, Rebecca Frise, Jonathan W. Ashcroft, Lorian C. Hartgroves, Holly Shelton, Spyridon Makris, Cecilia Johansson, Bin Cao & Wendy S. Barclay

Why do avian influenza viruses like H5N1 cause such severe disease in humans? This paper demonstrated that H5N1 viruses replicate better than human viruses in myeloid cells from mice leading to a cytokine storm and more severe disease.

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  • Journal article
    Singanayagam A, Zhou J, Elderfield RA, Frise R, Ashcroft J, Galiano M, Miah S, Nicolaou L, Barclay WSet al., 2020,

    Characterising viable virus from air exhaled by H1N1 influenza-infected ferrets reveals the importance of haemagglutinin stability for airborne infectivity

    , PLoS Pathogens, Vol: 16, Pages: 1-21, ISSN: 1553-7366

    The transmissibility and pandemic potential of influenza viruses depends on their ability to efficiently replicate and be released from an infected host, retain viability as they pass through the environment, and then initiate infection in the next host. There is a significant gap in knowledge about viral properties that enable survival of influenza viruses between hosts, due to a lack of experimental methods to reliably isolate viable virus from the air. Using a novel technique, we isolate and characterise infectious virus from droplets emitted by 2009 pandemic H1N1-infected ferrets. We demonstrate that infectious virus is predominantly released early after infection. A virus containing a mutation destabilising the haemagglutinin (HA) surface protein displayed reduced survival in air. Infectious virus recovered from droplets exhaled by ferrets inoculated with this virus contained mutations that conferred restabilisation of HA, indicating the importance of influenza HA stability for between-host survival. Using this unique approach can improve knowledge about the determinants and mechanisms of influenza transmissibility and ultimately could be applied to studies of airborne virus exhaled from infected people.

  • Journal article
    Mistry B, Long JS, Schreyer J, Staller E, Sanchez-David RY, Barclay WSet al., 2020,

    Elucidating the Interactions between Influenza Virus Polymerase and Host Factor ANP32A

    , JOURNAL OF VIROLOGY, Vol: 94, ISSN: 0022-538X
  • Journal article
    Brown JC, Barclay WS, Galiano M, Harvey Ret al., 2019,

    Passage of influenza A/H3N2 viruses in human airway cells removes artefactual variants associated with neuraminidase-mediated binding.

    , Journal of General Virology, Vol: 101, Pages: 456-466, ISSN: 0022-1317

    Serological assays with modern influenza A/H3N2 viruses have become problematic due to the progressive reduction in the ability of viruses of this subtype to bind and agglutinate red blood cells (RBCs). This is due to reduced ability of the viral haemagglutinin (HA) glycoprotein to bind to the sialic acid-containing receptors presented by these cells. Additionally, as a result of reduced HA-mediated binding in cell culture, modern A/H3N2 viruses often acquire compensatory mutations during propagation that enable binding of cellular receptors through their neuraminidase (NA) surface protein. Viruses that have acquired this NA-mediated binding agglutinate RBCs through their NA, confusing the results of serological assays designed to assess HA antigenicity. Here we confirm with a large dataset that the acquisition of mutations that confer NA binding of RBCs is a culture artefact, and demonstrate that modern A/H3N2 isolates with acquired NA-binding mutations revert to a clinical-like NA sequence after a single passage in human airway epithelial (HAE) cells.

  • Journal article
    Singanayagam A, Zambon M, Barclay W, 2019,

    Influenza virus with increased pH of HA activation has improved replication in cell culture but at the cost of infectivity in human airway epithelium.

    , Journal of Virology, Vol: 98, ISSN: 0022-538X

    Pandemic H1N1 (pH1N1) influenza virus emerged from swine in 2009 with adequate capability to infect and transmit between people. In subsequent years it has circulated as a seasonal virus and evolved further human-adapting mutations. Mutations in the haemagglutinin (HA) stalk that increase pH stability have been associated with human adaptation and airborne transmission of pH1N1 virus. Yet, our understanding of how pH stability impacts virus/host interactions is incomplete. Here, using recombinant viruses with point mutations that alter the pH stability of pH1N1 HA, we found distinct effects on virus phenotypes in different experimental models. Increased pH sensitivity enabled virus to uncoat in endosomes more efficiently, manifesting as increased replication rate in typical continuous cell cultures under single-cycle conditions. A more acid labile HA also conferred a small reduction in sensitivity to antiviral therapeutics that act at the pH-sensitive HA fusion step. Conversely, in primary human airway epithelium cultured at air-liquid interface, increased pH sensitivity attenuated multicycle viral replication, by compromising virus survival in the extracellular microenvironment. In a mouse model of influenza pathogenicity, there was an optimum HA activation pH and viruses with either more or less pH stable HA were less virulent. Opposing pressures inside and outside the host cell that determine pH stability may influence zoonotic potential. The distinct effects that changes in pH stability exert on viral phenotypes underscore the importance of using the most appropriate systems for assessing virus titre and fitness, which has implications for vaccine manufacture, antiviral drug development and pandemic risk assessment.ImportanceThe pH stability of the haemagglutinin surface protein varies between different influenza strains and subtypes and can affect the virus' ability to replicate and transmit. Here, we demonstrate a delicate balance the virus strikes within and

  • Journal article
    Peacock TP, Sheppard CM, Staller E, Barclay WSet al., 2019,

    Host Determinants of Influenza RNA Synthesis.

    , Annu Rev Virol

    Influenza viruses are a leading cause of seasonal and pandemic respiratory illness. Influenza is a negative-sense single-stranded RNA virus that encodes its own RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) for nucleic acid synthesis. The RdRp catalyzes mRNA synthesis, as well as replication of the virus genome (viral RNA) through a complementary RNA intermediate. Virus propagation requires the generation of these RNA species in a controlled manner while competing heavily with the host cell for resources. Influenza virus appropriates host factors to enhance and regulate RdRp activity at every step of RNA synthesis. This review describes such host factors and summarizes our current understanding of the roles they play in viral synthesis of RNA. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Virology Volume 6 is September 30, 2019. Please see for revised estimates.

  • Journal article
    Staller E, Sheppard CM, Neasham PJ, Mistry B, Peacock TP, Goldhill DH, Long JS, Barclay WSet al., 2019,

    ANP32 proteins are essential for influenza virus replication in human cells

    , Journal of Virology, Vol: 93, ISSN: 0022-538X

    ANP32 proteins have been implicated in supporting influenza virus replication, but most of the work to date has focused on the ability of avian Anp32 proteins to overcome restriction of avian influenza polymerases in human cells. Using a CRISPR approach we show that human ANP32A and ANP32B are functionally redundant but essential host factors for mammalian-adapted influenza A virus (IAV) and influenza B virus (IBV) replication in human cells. When both proteins are absent from human cells, influenza polymerases are unable to replicate the viral genome, and infectious virus cannot propagate. Provision of exogenous ANP32A or –B recovers polymerase activity and virus growth. We demonstrate that this redundancy is absent in the murine Anp32 orthologues: murine Anp32A is incapable of recovering IAV polymerase activity, while murine Anp32B can. Intriguingly, IBV polymerase is able to use murine Anp32A. We show using a domain swap and point mutations that the LRR 5 region comprises an important functional domain for mammalian ANP32 proteins. Our approach has identified a pair of essential host factors for influenza virus replication and can be harnessed to inform future interventions.

  • Journal article
    Lindsey BB, Jagne YJ, Armitage EP, Singanayagam A, Sallah HJ, Drammeh S, Senghore E, Mohammed NI, Jeffries D, Höschler K, Tregoning JS, Meijer A, Clarke E, Dong T, Barclay W, Kampmann B, de Silva TIet al., 2019,

    Effect of a Russian-backbone live-attenuated influenza vaccine with an updated pandemic H1N1 strain on shedding and immunogenicity among children in The Gambia: an open-label, observational, phase 4 study

    , Lancet Respiratory Medicine, Vol: 7, Pages: 665-676, ISSN: 2213-2600

    BACKGROUND: The efficacy and effectiveness of the pandemic H1N1 (pH1N1) component in live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) is poor. The reasons for this paucity are unclear but could be due to impaired replicative fitness of pH1N1 A/California/07/2009-like (Cal09) strains. We assessed whether an updated pH1N1 strain in the Russian-backbone trivalent LAIV resulted in greater shedding and immunogenicity compared with LAIV with Cal09. METHODS: We did an open-label, prospective, observational, phase 4 study in Sukuta, a periurban area in The Gambia. We enrolled children aged 24-59 months who were clinically well. Children received one dose of the WHO prequalified Russian-backbone trivalent LAIV containing either A/17/California/2009/38 (Cal09) or A/17/New York/15/5364 (NY15) based on their year of enrolment. Primary outcomes were the percentage of children with LAIV strain shedding at day 2 and day 7, haemagglutinin inhibition seroconversion, and an increase in influenza haemagglutinin-specific IgA and T-cell responses at day 21 after LAIV. This study is nested within a randomised controlled trial investigating LAIV-microbiome interactions (NCT02972957). FINDINGS: Between Feb 8, 2017, and April 12, 2017, 118 children were enrolled and received one dose of the Cal09 LAIV from 2016-17. Between Jan 15, 2018, and March 28, 2018, a separate cohort of 135 children were enrolled and received one dose of the NY15 LAIV from 2017-18, of whom 126 children completed the study. Cal09 showed impaired pH1N1 nasopharyngeal shedding (16 of 118 children [14%, 95% CI 8·0-21·1] with shedding at day 2 after administration of LAIV) compared with H3N2 (54 of 118 [46%, 36·6-55·2]; p<0·0001) and influenza B (95 of 118 [81%, 72·2-87·2]; p<0·0001), along with suboptimal serum antibody (seroconversion in six of 118 [5%, 1·9-10·7]) and T-cell responses (CD4+ interferon γ-positive and/or CD4+ interleukin 2-positive

  • Journal article
    Long JS, Idoko-Akoh A, Mistry B, Goldhill D, Staller E, Schreyer J, Ross C, Goodbourn S, Shelton H, Skinner MA, Sang H, McGrew MJ, Barclay Wet al., 2019,

    Species specific differences in use of ANP32 proteins by influenza A virus

    , eLife, Vol: 8, ISSN: 2050-084X

    Influenza A viruses (IAV) are subject to species barriers that prevent frequent zoonotic transmission and pandemics. One of these barriers is the poor activity of avian IAV polymerases in human cells. Differences between avian and mammalian ANP32 proteins underlie this host range barrier. Human ANP32A and ANP32B homologues both support function of human-adapted influenza polymerase but do not support efficient activity of avian IAV polymerase which requires avian ANP32A. We show here that the gene currently designated as avian ANP32B is evolutionarily distinct from mammalian ANP32B, and that chicken ANP32B does not support IAV polymerase activity even of human-adapted viruses. Consequently, IAV relies solely on chicken ANP32A to support its replication in chicken cells. Amino acids 129I and 130N, accounted for the inactivity of chicken ANP32B. Transfer of these residues to chicken ANP32A abolished support of IAV polymerase. Understanding ANP32 function will help develop antiviral strategies and aid the design of influenza virus resilient genome edited chickens.

  • Journal article
    Lindsey BB, Singanayagam A, Tregoning JS, De Silva T, Barclay Wet al.,

    The impact of an updated pandemic H1N1 strain on shedding and immunogenicity to Russian-backbone live attenuated influenza vaccine among children in The Gambia: an open-label, observational, phase 4 study

    , Lancet Respiratory Medicine, ISSN: 2213-2600

    Background: Poor efficacy and effectiveness of thepandemic H1N1 (pH1N1) component inlive attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV)has been demonstrated in several studies.The reasons for this are unclear, butmay be due toimpairedreplicative fitness of pH1N1 A/California/07/2009-like (Cal09) strains. The aim of this study was to establish whether an updated pH1N1 strain in the Russian-backbone trivalent LAIV resulted in greater shedding and immunogenicitycompared to Cal09.Methods: In an open-label, prospective,observational,phase 4study, we evaluated the impact of updating the pH1N1 component in the WHO prequalified Russian-backbone trivalent LAIV from Cal09in 2016-17(n=118) to an A/Michigan/45/2015-like strain (A/17/New York/15/5364, NY15) in 2017-18(n=126),on shedding and immunogenicity in Gambian children aged 2-4 years old.The study was nested within a randomised controlled trial investigating LAIV-microbiome interactions ( NCT02972957). Findings: Cal09 showed impairednasopharyngeal shedding(13.6%children shedding at day 2 post-LAIV)compared to H3N2(45.8%)and influenza B(80.5%), along with sub-optimal serum antibody(5.1%seroconversion)and T-cell responses(40.5% CD4+IFN-g+ and/or CD4+IL-2+responders). Following the switch to NY15, a significant increase in pH1N1 shedding(63.5%)was seen, along with improvements in seroconversion(19.1%)and influenza-specific CD4+ T-3cell responses(65.7%). The improvement in pH1N1 seroconversion with NY15 was even greater in children seronegative at baseline(37.5% vs. 7.6%). Persistent shedding today 7was independently associated with both seroconversionand CD4+ T cell responsein multivariable logistic regression. Interpretation:The pH1N1 component switch may have overcome problems in prior LAIV formulations.LAIV effectiveness against pH1N1 shouldtherefore improve in upcoming influenza seasons. Our dataalso highlightthe importance of evaluat

  • Journal article
    Lesch M, Luckner M, Meyer M, Weege F, Gravenstein I, Raftery M, Sieben C, Martin-Sancho L, Imai-Matsushima A, Welke R-W, Frise R, Barclay W, Schoenrich G, Herrmann A, Meyer TF, Karlas Aet al., 2019,

    RNAi-based small molecule repositioning reveals clinically approved urea-based kinase inhibitors as broadly active antivirals

    , PLoS Pathogens, Vol: 15, Pages: 1-34, ISSN: 1553-7366

    Influenza viruses (IVs) tend to rapidly develop resistance to virus-directed vaccines and common antivirals targeting pathogen determinants, but novel host-directed approaches might preclude resistance development. To identify the most promising cellular targets for a host-directed approach against influenza, we performed a comparative small interfering RNA (siRNA) loss-of-function screen of IV replication in A549 cells. Analysis of four different IV strains including a highly pathogenic avian H5N1 strain, an influenza B virus (IBV) and two human influenza A viruses (IAVs) revealed 133 genes required by all four IV strains. According to gene enrichment analyses, these strain-independent host genes were particularly enriched for nucleocytoplasmic trafficking. In addition, 360 strain-specific genes were identified with distinct patterns of usage for IAVs versus IBV and human versus avian IVs. The strain-independent host genes served to define 43 experimental and otherwise clinically approved drugs, targeting reportedly fourteen of the encoded host factors. Amongst the approved drugs, the urea-based kinase inhibitors (UBKIs) regorafenib and sorafenib exhibited a superior therapeutic window of high IV antiviral activity and low cytotoxicity. Both UBKIs appeared to block a cell signaling pathway involved in IV replication after internalization, yet prior to vRNP uncoating. Interestingly, both compounds were active also against unrelated viruses including cowpox virus (CPXV), hantavirus (HTV), herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV1) and vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) and showed antiviral efficacy in human primary respiratory cells. An in vitro resistance development analysis for regorafenib failed to detect IV resistance development against this drug. Taken together, the otherwise clinically approved UBKIs regorafenib and sorafenib possess high and broad-spectrum antiviral activity along with substantial robustness against resistance development and thus constitute attractive hos

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