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
    Arinaminpathy N, Riley S, Barclay W, Saad-Roy C, Grenfell Bet al., 2020,

    Population implications of the deployment of novel universal vaccines against epidemic and pandemic influenza

    , Journal of the Royal Society Interface, ISSN: 1742-5662
  • 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
    Giotis ES, Carnell G, Young EF, Ghanny S, Soteropoulos P, Wang L-F, Barclay WS, Skinner MA, Temperton Net al., 2019,

    Entry of the bat influenza H17N10 virus into mammalian cells is enabled by the MHC class II HLA-DR receptor.

    , Nature Microbiology, Vol: 4, Pages: 2035-2038, ISSN: 2058-5276

    Haemagglutinin and neuraminidase surface glycoproteins of the bat influenza H17N10 virus neither bind to nor cleave sialic acid receptors, indicating that this virus employs cell entry mechanisms distinct from those of classical influenza A viruses. We observed that certain human haematopoietic cancer cell lines and canine MDCK II cells are susceptible to H17-pseudotyped viruses. We identified the human HLA-DR receptor as an entry mediator for H17 pseudotypes, suggesting that H17N10 possesses zoonotic potential.

  • Journal article
    Goldhill DH, Lindsey B, Kugathasan R, Garza ZF, Jagne YJ, Sallah HJ, Goderski G, van Tol S, Höschler K, Meijer A, Barclay WS, de Silva TIet al., 2019,

    The Consequences of Egg Adaptation in the H3N2 Component to the Immunogenicity of Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine

    <jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>Adaptation in egg-passaged vaccine strains may cause reduced vaccine effectiveness due to altered antigenicity of the influenza haemagglutinin. We tested whether egg adaptation modified serum and mucosal antibody responses to the A(H3N2) component in the Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV). Twice as many children seroconverted to an egg-adapted H3N2 than the equivalent wildtype strain. Seroconversion to the wildtype strain was greater in children seronegative pre-LAIV, whereas higher mucosal IgA responses to wildtype antigen were observed if seropositive prior to vaccination. Sequencing of virus from nasopharyngeal swabs from 7 days post-LAIV showed low sequence diversity and no reversion of egg-adaptive mutations.</jats:p>

  • 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
    Shah NM, Imami N, Kelleher P, Barclay WS, Johnson MRet al., 2019,

    Pregnancy-related immune suppression leads to altered influenza vaccine recall responses.

    , Clin Immunol, Vol: 208

    Pregnancy is a risk factor for severe influenza infection. Despite achieving seroprotective antibody titres post immunisation fewer pregnant women experience a reduction in influenza-like illness compared to non-pregnant cohorts. This may be due to the effects that immune-modulation in pregnancy has on vaccine efficacy leading to a less favourable immunologic response. To understand this, we investigated the antigen-specific cellular responses and leukocyte phenotype in pregnant and non-pregnant women who achieved seroprotection post immunisation. We show that pregnancy is associated with better antigen-specific inflammatory (IFN-γ) responses and an expansion of central memory T cells (Tcm) post immunisation, but low-level pregnancy-related immune regulation (HLA-G, PIBF) and associated reduced B-cell antibody maintenance (TGF-β) suggest poor immunologic responses compared to the non-pregnant. Thus far, studies of influenza vaccine immunogenicity have focused on the induction of antibodies but understanding additional vaccine-related cellular responses is needed to fully appreciate how pregnancy impacts on vaccine effectiveness.

  • 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
    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
    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 http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.

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