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Measuring Attachment and Internalization of Influenza A Virus in A549 Cells by Flow Cytometry.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Pohl Marie O, Stertz Silke,
Project The role of phosphorylation events during influenza A virus entry
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE
Page(s) 53372 - 53372
Title of proceedings Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE
DOI 10.3791/53372

Open Access

Type of Open Access Green OA Embargo (Freely available via Repository after an embargo)


Attachment to target cells followed by internalization are the very first steps of the life cycle of influenza A virus (IAV). We provide here a detailed protocol for measuring relative changes in the amount of viral particles that attach to A549 cells, a human lung epithelial cell line, as well as in the amount of particles that are internalized into the cell. We use biotinylated virus which can be easily detected following staining with Cy3-labeled streptavidin (STV-Cy3). We describe the growth, purification and biotinylation of A/WSN/33, a widely used IAV laboratory strain. Cold-bound biotinylated IAV particles on A549 cells are stained with STV-Cy3 and measured using flow cytometry. To investigate uptake of viral particles, cold-bound virus is allowed to internalize at 37 °C. In order to differentiate between external and internalized viral particles, a blocking step is applied: Free binding spots on the biotin of attached virus on the cell surface are bound by unlabeled streptavidin (STV). Subsequent cell permeabilization and staining with STV-Cy3 then enables detection of internalized viral particles. We present a calculation to determine the relative amount of internalized virus. This assay is suitable to measure effects of drug-treatments or other manipulations on attachment or internalization of IAV.