Receptor Density-Dependent Motility of Influenza Virus Particles on Surface Gradients

P. H.Erik Hamming, Nico J. Overeem, Kevin Diestelhorst, Tren Fiers, Malte Tieke, Gaël M. Vos, Geert Jan P.H. Boons, Erhard Van Der Vries, Stephan Block*, Jurriaan Huskens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Influenza viruses can move across the surface of host cells while interacting with their glycocalyx. This motility may assist in finding or forming locations for cell entry and thereby promote cellular uptake. Because the binding to and cleavage of cell surface receptors forms the driving force for the process, the surface-bound motility of influenza is expected to be dependent on the receptor density. Surface gradients with gradually varying receptor densities are thus a valuable tool to study binding and motility processes of influenza and can function as a mimic for local receptor density variations at the glycocalyx that may steer the directionality of a virus particle in finding the proper site of uptake. We have tracked individual influenza virus particles moving over surfaces with receptor density gradients. We analyzed the extracted virus tracks first at a general level to verify neuraminidase activity and subsequently with increasing detail to quantify the receptor density-dependent behavior on the level of individual virus particles. While a directional bias was not observed, most likely due to limitations of the steepness of the surface gradient, the surface mobility and the probability of sticking were found to be significantly dependent on receptor density. A combination of high surface mobility and high dissociation probability of influenza was observed at low receptor densities, while the opposite occurred at higher receptor densities. These properties result in an effective mechanism for finding high-receptor density patches, which are believed to be a key feature of potential locations for cell entry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25066-25076
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number20
Early online date11 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2023


  • influenza
  • motility
  • multivalency
  • receptor density
  • surface diffusion
  • surface gradients
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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