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Cell. 1999 Dec 23;99(7):817-27.

CD46 is a cellular receptor for human herpesvirus 6.

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Unit of Human Virology, DIBIT, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milano, Italy.


Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) is the etiologic agent of exanthema subitum, causes opportunistic infections in immunocompromised patients, and has been implicated in multiple sclerosis and in the progression of AIDS. Here, we show that the two major HHV-6 subgroups (A and B) use human CD46 as a cellular receptor. Downregulation of surface CD46 was documented during the course of HHV-6 infection. Both acute infection and cell fusion mediated by HHV-6 were specifically inhibited by a monoclonal antibody to CD46; fusion was also blocked by soluble CD46. Nonhuman cells that were resistant to HHV-6 fusion and entry became susceptible upon expression of recombinant human CD46. The use of a ubiquitous immunoregulatory receptor opens novel perspectives for understanding the tropism and pathogenicity of HHV-6.

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