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Microbiol Immunol. 2002;46(3):135-42.

The morbillivirus receptor SLAM (CD150).

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  • 1Department of Virology, Faculty of Medicine, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.


Morbilliviruses are highly contagious pathogens that cause some of the most devastating viral diseases of humans and animals, including measles virus (MV), canine distemper virus (CDV), and rinderpest virus (RPV). They replicate mainly in lymphoid organs throughout the body and cause severe immunosuppression accompanied with lymphopenia. We have recently shown that human, canine, and bovine signaling lymphocyte activation molecules (SLAMs; also known as CD150) act as cellular receptors for MV, CDV, and RPV, respectively. In these three morbilliviruses, all strains examined were shown to use SLAMs of their respective host species, and laboratory strains passaged on SLAM-negative cells were found to use, besides SLAM, alternative receptors, such as human CD46 for the Edmonston strain of MV. The use of SLAM as a receptor may be a property common to most, if not all, of the members of morbilliviruses. Human SLAM is a membrane glycoprotein selectively expressed on the cells of the immune system (immature thymocytes, activated lymphocytes, activated monocytes, and mature dendritic cells) and seems to mediate lymphocyte activation and to control interferon-gamma production. The destruction and/or impairment of infected SLAM-positive cells may be a mechanism for the immunosuppression induced by morbilliviruses, but other mechanisms may be also involved.

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