What is it about?

We show that non-human primate (NHP) orthologues of the cellular serine protease activate influenza A viruses (IAV) and that an inhibitor of TMPRSS2 and related proteases blocks viral spread in the respiratory epithelium of NHP ex vivo. These results and our previous work suggest that IAV might depend on TMPRSS2 activity for spread in diverse host species and that NHP might be a suitable model to study viral activation by TMPRSS2.

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Why is it important?

Our results indicate that TMPRSS2 promotes influenza A virus spread in respiratory epithelium of non-human primates and humans and thus constitutes a potential target for antiviral intervention.


TMPRSS2 activity is required for spread of diverse viruses in cell lines and primary target cells and is essential for spread of diverse influenza A viruses in mice. In contrast, expression of the protease is dispensable for development and homeostasis. Inhibitors of TMPRSS2 might thus exert broad antiviral activity in the absence of unwanted side effects.

Professor Stefan Pöhlmann
German Primate Center

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This page is a summary of: Non-human primate orthologues of TMPRSS2 cleave and activate the influenza virus hemagglutinin, PLoS ONE, May 2017, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0176597.
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