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Mol Biol Cell. 1997 Jan;8(1):47-57.

Major histocompatibility complex class I molecules mediate association of SV40 with caveolae.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.


Simian virus 40 (SV40) has been shown to enter mammalian cells via uncoated plasma membrane invaginations. Viral particles subsequently appear within the endoplasmic reticulum. In the present study, we have examined the surface binding and internalization of SV40 by immunoelectron microscopy. We show that SV40 associates with surface pits which have the characteristics of caveolae and are labeled with antibodies to the caveolar marker protein, caveolin-1. SV40 is believed to use major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules as cell surface receptors. Using a number of MHC class I-specific monoclonal antibodies, we found that both viral infection and association of virus with caveolae were strongly reduced by preincubation with anti-MHC class I antibodies. Because binding of SV40 to MHC class I molecules may induce clustering, we investigated whether antibody cross-linked class I molecules also redistributed to caveolae. Clusters of MHC class I molecules were indeed shown to be specifically associated with caveolin-labeled surface pits. Taken together, the results suggest that SV40 may make use of MHC class I molecule clustering and the caveolae pathway to enter mammalian cells.

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