Immunity space generated by a non trivial genetic-antigenic relation
Lorenzo Taggi, Francesca Colaiori, Vittorio Loreto, and Francesca Tria
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Submission date: 29. Apr. 2012
paper prepared for: Physics Review Letters
MSC-Numbers: 92D30, 65k05
PACS-Numbers: 87.18.Mp, 87.23.Cc
Keywords and phrases: Epidemic Dynamics of Influenza Virus, Genetic Regulatory Network, Percolation problems inspired by epidemic dynamics
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Cross-immunity plays a crucial role in the epidemiological properties of influenza A virus. Recent experimental studies have pointed out that genetic distances do not fully account for the observed antigenic clusters. In particular, jumps from an antigenic cluster to another seem to be triggered by correlated mutations. However, no specific sites determine whether a sequence belongs to a given antigenic cluster, suggesting that sites mutations could be dynamically correlated. In this paper we introduce an epistatic interaction rule among mutations that dynamically defines neutral clusters in the immunity space. We investigate the structure of this epistatic immunity space, highlighting how this can affect the dynamical properties of the virus-host interaction.