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Virology. 2011 Jul 5;415(2):83-94. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2011.04.002. Epub 2011 May 6.

Tyrosine kinase receptor Axl enhances entry of Zaire ebolavirus without direct interactions with the viral glycoprotein.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


In a bioinformatics-based screen for cellular genes that enhance Zaire ebolavirus (ZEBOV) transduction, AXL mRNA expression strongly correlated with ZEBOV infection. A series of cell lines and primary cells were identified that require Axl for optimal ZEBOV entry. Using one of these cell lines, we identified ZEBOV entry events that are Axl-dependent. Interactions between ZEBOV-GP and the Axl ectodomain were not detected in immunoprecipitations and reduction of surface-expressed Axl by RNAi did not alter ZEBOV-GP binding, providing evidence that Axl does not serve as a receptor for the virus. However, RNAi knock down of Axl reduced ZEBOV pseudovirion internalization and α-Axl antisera inhibited pseudovirion fusion with cellular membranes. Consistent with the importance of Axl for ZEBOV transduction, Axl transiently co-localized on the surface of cells with ZEBOV virus particles and was internalized during virion transduction. In total, these findings indicate that endosomal uptake of filoviruses is facilitated by Axl.

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