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J Virol. 2006 Sep;80(17):8482-92.

Purified feline and canine transferrin receptors reveal complex interactions with the capsids of canine and feline parvoviruses that correspond to their host ranges.

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Baker Institute for Animal Health, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca NY 14853, USA.


The cell infection processes and host ranges of canine parvovirus (CPV) and feline panleukopenia virus (FPV) are controlled by their capsid interactions with the transferrin receptors (TfR) on their host cells. Here, we expressed the ectodomains of wild-type and mutant TfR and tested those for binding to purified viral capsids and showed that different naturally variant strains of the viruses were associated with variant interactions with the receptors which likely reflect the optimization of the viral infection processes in the different hosts. While all viruses bound the feline TfR, reflecting their tissue culture host ranges, a naturally variant mutant of CPV (represented by the CPV type-2b strain) that became the dominant virus worldwide in 1979 showed significantly lower levels of binding to the feline TfR. The canine TfR ectodomain did not bind to a detectable level in the in vitro assays, but this appears to reflect the naturally low affinity of that interaction, as only low levels of binding were seen when the receptor was expressed on mammalian cells; however, that was sufficient to allow endocytosis and infection. The apical domain of the canine TfR controls the specific interaction with CPV capsids, as a canine TfR mutant altering a glycosylation site in that domain bound FPV, CPV-2, and CPV-2b capsids efficiently. Enzymatic removal of the N-linked glycans did not allow FPV binding to the canine TfR, suggesting that the protein sequence difference is itself important. The purified feline TfR inhibited FPV and CPV-2 binding and infection of feline cells but not CPV-2b, indicating that the receptor binding may be able to prevent the attachment to the same receptor on cells.

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