Isolation of avian influenza viruses from two different transhemispheric migratory shorebird species in Australia
Influenza virus infections have a significant impact on global human health. Individuals with suppressed immunity, or suffering from chronic inflammatory conditions such as COPD, are particularly susceptible to influenza. Here we show that suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS) five has a pivotal role in restricting influenza A virus in the airway epithelium, through the regulation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Socs5-deficient mice exhibit heightened disease severity, with increased viral titres and weight loss. Socs5 levels were differentially regulated in response to distinct influenza viruses (H1N1, H3N2, H5N1 and H11N9) and were reduced in primary epithelial cells from COPD patients, again correlating with increased susceptibility to influenza. Importantly, restoration of SOCS5 levels restricted influenza virus infection, suggesting that manipulating SOCS5 expression and/or SOCS5 targets might be a novel therapeutic approach to influenza.