Characterization of co-circulating swine influenza A viruses in North America and the identification of a novel H1 genetic clade with antigenic significance.
Prior to the introduction of the 2009 pandemic H1N1 virus from humans into pigs, four phylogenetic clusters (α-, β-, γ- and δ) of the haemagglutinin (HA) gene from H1 influenza viruses could be found in US swine. Information regarding the antigenic relatedness of the H1 viruses was lacking due to the dynamic and variable nature of swine lineage H1. We characterized 12 H1 isolates from 2008 by using 454 genome-sequencing technology and phylogenetic analysis of all eight gene segments and by serological cross-reactivity in the haemagglutination inhibition (HI) assay. Genetic diversity was demonstrated in all gene segments, but most notably in the HA gene. The gene segments from the 2009 pandemic H1N1 formed clusters separate from North American swine lineage viruses, suggesting progenitors of the pandemic virus were not present in US pigs immediately prior to 2009. Serological cross-reactivity paired with antigenic cartography demonstrated that the viruses in the different phylogenetic clusters are also antigenically divergent.