Receptor use by pathogenic arenaviruses

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The arenavirus family contains several important human pathogens including Lassa fever virus (LASV), lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) and the New World clade B viruses Junin (JUNV) and Machupo (MACV). Previously, α-dystroglycan (α-DG) was identified as a receptor recognized by LASV and certain strains of LCMV. However, other studies have suggested that α-DG is probably not used by the clade B viruses, and the receptor(s) for these pathogens is currently unknown. Using pseudotyped retroviral vectors displaying arenavirus glycoproteins (GPs), we are able to explore the role played by the GP in viral entry in the absence of other viral proteins. By examining the ability of the vectors to transduce DG knockout murine embryonic stem (ES) cells, we have confirmed that LASV has an absolute requirement for α-DG in these cells. However, the LCMV GP can still direct substantial entry into murine ES cells in the absence of α-DG, even when the GP from the clone 13 variant is used that has previously been reported to be highly dependent on α-DG for entry. We also found that neither LASV or LCMV pseudotyped vectors were able to transduce human or murine lymphocytes, presumably due to the glycosylation state of α-DG in these cells. In contrast, the JUNV and MACV GPs displayed broad tropism on human, murine and avian cell types, including lymphocytes, and showed no requirement for α-DG in murine ES cells. These findings highlight the importance of molecules other than α-DG for arenavirus entry. An alternate receptor is present on murine ES cells that can be used by LCMV but not by LASV, and which is not available on human or murine lymphocytes, while a distinct and widely expressed receptor(s) is used by the clade B viruses. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.




Reignier, T., Oldenburg, J., Noble, B., Lamb, E., Romanowski, V., Buchmeier, M. J., & Cannon, P. M. (2006). Receptor use by pathogenic arenaviruses. Virology, 353(1), 111–120.

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