Sci Rep

. 2021 Oct 14;11(1):20477.
doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-99691-1.
Evidence that two instead of one defective interfering RNA in influenza A virus-derived defective interfering particles (DIPs) does not enhance antiviral activity

Najat Bdeir 1 2 , Prerna Arora 1 2 , Sabine Gärtner 1 , Stefan Pöhlmann 3 4 , Michael Winkler 1



Influenza A virus (IAV) infection constitutes a significant health threat. Defective interfering particles (DIPs) can arise during IAV infection and inhibit spread of wild type (WT) IAV. DIPs harbor defective RNA segments, termed DI RNAs, that usually contain internal deletions and interfere with replication of WT viral RNA segments. Here, we asked whether DIPs harboring two instead of one DI RNA exert increased antiviral activity. For this, we focused on DI RNAs derived from segments 1 and 3, which encode the polymerase subunits PB2 and PA, respectively. We demonstrate the successful production of DIPs harboring deletions in segments 1 and/or 3, using cell lines that co-express PB2 and PA. Further, we demonstrate that DIPs harboring two instead of one DI RNA do not exhibit increased ability to inhibit replication of a WT RNA segment. Similarly, the presence of two DI RNAs did not augment the induction of the interferon-stimulated gene MxA and the inhibition of IAV infection. Collectively, our findings suggest that the presence of multiple DI RNAs derived from genomic segments encoding polymerase subunits might not result in increased antiviral activity.