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J Virol. 2005 May;79(10):5979-87.

Characterization of the interaction of lassa fever virus with its cellular receptor alpha-dystroglycan.

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  • 1Division of Virology, Department of Neuropharmacology, The Scripps Research Institute, 10550 N. Torrey Pines Rd., La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


The cellular receptor for the Old World arenaviruses Lassa fever virus (LFV) and lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) has recently been identified as alpha-dystroglycan (alpha-DG), a cell surface receptor that provides a molecular link between the extracellular matrix and the actin-based cytoskeleton. In the present study, we show that LFV binds to alpha-DG with high affinity in the low-nanomolar range. Recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus pseudotyped with LFV glycoprotein (GP) adopted the receptor binding characteristics of LFV and depended on alpha-DG for infection of cells. Mapping of the binding site of LFV on alpha-DG revealed that LFV binding required the same domains of alpha-DG that are involved in the binding of LCMV. Further, LFV was found to efficiently compete with laminin alpha1 and alpha2 chains for alpha-DG binding. Together with our previous studies on receptor binding of the prototypic immunosuppressive LCMV isolate LCMV clone 13, these findings indicate a high degree of conservation in the receptor binding characteristics between the highly human-pathogenic LFV and murine-immunosuppressive LCMV isolates.

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