Video Abstract (AI generated) (01:42)PaperPreprint
Influenza A virus (IAV) pandemics result from interspecies transmission events within the avian reservoir and further to mammals including humans. Investigating molecular virus-host interactions dictating this process and the adaptations to the new hosts that follow is vital to understand zoonotic IAV spread. Receptor incompatibility has been suggested to limit zoonotic IAV transmission from the wild bird reservoir. Other barriers to interspecies transmission, particularly within the avian system, largely remain elusive. Through assessment of infection dynamics of mallard origin IAV in two different avian hosts, coupled with studies of receptor expression and host response we aimed to reveal the host-pathogen interactions in a cross-species transmission event. We found that shedding patterns and innate immune responses were highly dependent on viral genotypes, host species and inoculation routes, but less dependent on receptor expression. Further, in contrary to the prevailing dogma we demonstrate that birds can produce a wide range of different sialylated structures also found in mammals, e.g. extended N- and O-linked Neu5Ac alpha2,6 terminated glycans. Overall, receptor incompatibility is not the sole transmission barrier for IAV between birds and to humans, but other host-pathogen factors deserve dedicated studies to achieve proper pandemic preparedness.
### Competing Interest Statement
The authors have declared no competing interest.