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Volume 24, Number 10—October 2018
Etymologia

Etymologia: Hemagglutinin and Neuraminidase

Ronnie HenryComments to Author  and Frederick A. Murphy

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Hemagglutinin [heʹmə-glooʹtĭ-nin] and neuraminidase [noorʹə-minʹĭ-dās]

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Thumbnail of Image of influenza virus showing hemagglutinin (one color) and neuraminidase (another color) proteins on the surface of the virus. Content source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD).

Figure. Image of influenza virus showing hemagglutinin (blue) and neuraminidase (red) proteins on the surface of the virus. Content source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory...

In 1941, virologist George K. Hirst discovered that adding influenza virus to red blood cells (erythrocytes) in a test tube caused the cells to agglutinate, mediated by one of the virus surface glycoproteins, hemagglutinin (from the Greek haima, “blood,” + Latin gluten, “glue”) (Figure). Alfred Gottschalk later showed that hemagglutinin binds virus to host cells by attaching to sialic acids (from the Greek sialon, “saliva”) on carbohydrate side chains of cell-surface glycoproteins and glycolipids. The other influenza virus surface protein, neuraminidase (referring to brain lipids from which it was first derived) is a virus receptor-destroying enzyme that removes its substrate, sialic acids, from infected cell surfaces so that newly made progeny viruses are released to infect additional cells. At present, 18 hemagglutinin subtypes (H1–H18) and 11 neuraminidase subtypes (N1–N11) are recognized.

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References

  1. Gottschalk  A. The chemistry and biology of sialic acids and related substances. London: Cambridge University Press; 1960.
  2. Hirst  GK. The agglutination of red cells by allantoic fluid of chick embryos infected with influenza virus. Science. 1941;94:223. DOIPubMed
  3. Hirst  GK. Adsorption of influenza hemagglutinins and virus by red blood cells. J Exp Med. 1942;76:195209. DOIPubMed

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Figure

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Cite This Article

DOI: 10.3201/eid2410.et2410

Original Publication Date: September 04, 2018

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Table of Contents – Volume 24, Number 10—October 2018

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Ronnie Henry, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Mailstop E03, Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA

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Page created: September 14, 2018
Page updated: September 14, 2018
Page reviewed: September 14, 2018
The conclusions, findings, and opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors' affiliated institutions. Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by any of the groups named above.
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