Influenza B viruses (IBVs) cause annual outbreaks of respiratory illness in humans and are increasingly recognized as a major cause of influenza-associated morbidity and mortality. Studying influenza viruses requires the use of secondary methodologies to identify virus-infected cells. To this end, replication-competent influenza A viruses (IAVs) expressing easily traceable fluorescent proteins have been recently developed. In contrast, similar approaches for IBV are mostly lacking. In this report, we describe the generation and characterization of replication-competent influenza B/Brisbane/60/2008 viruses expressing fluorescent mCherry or GFP fused to the C-terminal of the viral non-structural 1 (NS1) protein. Fluorescent-expressing IBVs display similar growth kinetics and plaque phenotype to wild-type IBV, while fluorescent protein expression allows for the easy identification of virus-infected cells. Without the need of secondary approaches to monitor viral infection, fluorescent-expressing IBVs represent an ideal approach to study the biology of IBV and an excellent platform for the rapid identification and characterization of antiviral therapeutics or neutralizing antibodies using high-throughput screening approaches. Lastly, fluorescent-expressing IBVs can be combined with the recently described reporter-expressing IAVs for the identification of novel therapeutics to combat these two important human respiratory pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-81
Number of pages13
JournalVirus Research
StatePublished - Feb 2 2016


  • Antivirals
  • Fluorescent-based Microneutralization assays
  • GFP
  • Influenza B virus
  • MCherry
  • Neutralizing antibodies


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