Virology journal 2018 04 1015(1) 68 doi 10.1186/s12985-018-0979-6
With the recent discovery of novel H17N10 and H18N11 influenza viral RNA in bats and report on high frequency of avian H9 seroconversion in a species of free ranging bats, an important issue to address is the extent bats are susceptible to conventional avian and human influenza A viruses.
To this end, three bat species (Eidolon helvum, Carollia perspicillata and Tadarida brasiliensis) of lung epithelial cells were separately infected with two avian and two human influenza viruses to determine their relative host innate immune resistance to infection.
All three species of bat cells were more resistant than positive control Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells to all four influenza viruses. TB1-Lu cells lacked sialic acid α2,6-Gal receptors and were most resistant among the three bat species. Interestingly, avian viruses were relatively more replication permissive in all three bat species of cells than with the use of human viruses which suggest that bats could potentially play a role in the ecology of avian influenza viruses. Chemical inhibition of the JAK-STAT pathway in bat cells had no effect on virus production suggesting that type I interferon signalling is not a major factor in resisting influenza virus infection.
Although all three species of bat cells are relatively more resistant to influenza virus infection than control MDCK cells, they are more permissive to avian than human viruses which suggest that bats could have a contributory role in the ecology of avian influenza viruses.