The first step in the replication cycle of influenza A virus is virus attachment to host cellular receptors . This is mediated by the HA protein, which binds to glycans expressed on the surface of host cells. Avian influenza viruses preferentially bind to glycans harbouring sialic acids with α2,3 linkage to galactose  and . These glycans are
abundantly expressed on the surface of avian intestinal and respiratory epithelial cells, contributing to the tissue tropism and route of transmission of these viruses in wild and domestic birds  and . It is interesting to note however that they also are expressed in other tissues in birds, such as the heart, kidney, brain and endothelium ,  and . The presence and accessibility of glycans recognized
by avian ABT-888 order influenza viruses at the site of virus entry in humans are essential for successful selleck kinase inhibitor cross-species transmission. The presence of glycans harbouring sialic acids with α2,3 linkage to galactose has been demonstrated on the surface of cells from diverse tissues of mammals, including humans. Sialic acids with α2,3 linkage to galactose were shown to be expressed in the respiratory tract of humans on rare epithelial cells of the nasal mucosa and pharynx, focally on tracheal, bronchial and bronchiolar epithelial cells, and more abundantly on alveolar epithelial cells (type II pneumocytes), as determined by use of lectin histochemistry . In other mammals, the same method revealed the presence of Parvulin these glycans on the surface of respiratory epithelial cells in the trachea of swine  and horses , in the bronchi of domestic dogs , and in the lungs of a seal and a whale (species unspecified) . Binding studies of avian influenza viruses on tissues of the respiratory tract of mammals further demonstrated the presence of target cells for virus attachment in the lower respiratory tract (mainly bronchiolar cuboidal epithelial cells, type II pneumocytes and alveolar macrophages) of humans, swine, ferrets, and domestic cats
,  and . In the trachea and bronchi of humans and ferrets, avian influenza viruses were also shown to bind acinar cells of the submucosal glands and mucus , in accordance with the detection of sialic acids with α2,3 linkage to galactose on these cell types  and in secreted mucins . In extra-respiratory organs, sialic acids with α2,3 linkage to galactose were detected in humans on Kuppfer cells in the liver, on neurons in the brain and in the wall of the intestine, and on endothelial cells of the heart and kidney . In the eye, sialic acids with α2,3 linkage to galactose were present on ocular and lachrymal duct epithelial cells, in accordance with binding of avian influenza viruses to corneal and conjunctival epithelial cells  and .