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EMBO J. 1998 Dec 15;17(24):7250-9.

Low-affinity nerve-growth factor receptor (P75NTR) can serve as a receptor for rabies virus.

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Laboratoire de Génétique des Virus, CNRS, 91198 Gif sur Yvette, France.


A random-primed cDNA expression library constructed from the mRNA of neuroblastoma cells (NG108) was used to clone a specific rabies virus (RV) receptor. A soluble form of the RV glycoprotein (Gs) was utilized as a ligand to detect positive cells. We identified the murine low-affinity nerve-growth factor receptor, p75NTR. BSR cells stably expressing p75NTR were able to bind Gs and G-expressing lepidopteran cells. The ability of the RV glycoprotein to bind p75NTR was dependent on the presence of a lysine and arginine in positions 330 and 333 respectively of antigenic site III, which is known to control virus penetration into motor and sensory neurons of adult mice. P75NTR-expressing BSR cells were permissive for a non-adapted fox RV isolate (street virus) and nerve growth factor (NGF) decreased this infection. In infected cells, p75NTR associates with the RV glycoprotein and could be precipitated with anti-G monoclonal antibodies. Therefore, p75NTR is a receptor for street RV.

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