Receptor specificities of human respiroviruses

J Virol. 2001 May;75(10):4604-13. doi: 10.1128/JVI.75.10.4604-4613.2001.


Through their hemagglutinin-neuraminidase glycoprotein, parainfluenza viruses bind to sialic acid-containing glycoconjugates to initiate infection. Although the virus-receptor interaction is a key factor of infection, the exact nature of the receptors that human parainfluenza viruses recognize has not been determined. We evaluated the abilities of human parainfluenza virus types 1 (hPIV-1) and 3 (hPIV-3) to bind to different types of gangliosides. Both hPIV-1 and hPIV-3 preferentially bound to neolacto-series gangliosides containing a terminal N-acetylneuraminic acid (NeuAc) linked to N-acetyllactosamine (Galbeta1-4GlcNAc) by the alpha2-3 linkage (NeuAcalpha2-3Galbeta1-4GlcNAc). Unlike hPIV-1, hPIV-3 bound to gangliosides with a terminal NeuAc linked to Galbeta1-4GlcNAc through an alpha2-6 linkage (NeuAcalpha2-6Galbeta1-4GlcNAc) or to gangliosides with a different sialic acid, N-glycolylneuraminic acid (NeuGc), linked to Galbeta1-4GlcNAc (NeuGcalpha2-3Galbeta1-4GlcNAc). These results indicate that the molecular species of glycoconjugate that hPIV-1 recognizes are more limited than those recognized by hPIV-3. Further analysis using purified gangliosides revealed that the oligosaccharide core structure is also an important element for binding. Gangliosides that contain branched N-acetyllactosaminoglycans in their core structure showed higher avidity than those without them. Agglutination of human, cow, and guinea pig erythrocytes but not equine erythrocytes by hPIV-1 and hPIV-3 correlated well with the presence or the absence of sialic acid-linked branched N-acetyllactosaminoglycans on the cell surface. Finally, NeuAcalpha2-3I, which bound to both viruses, inhibited virus infection of Lewis lung carcinoma-monkey kidney cells in a dose-dependent manner. We conclude that hPIV-1 and hPIV-3 preferentially recognize oligosaccharides containing branched N-acetyllactosaminoglycans with terminal NeuAcalpha2-3Gal as receptors and that hPIV-3 also recognizes NeuAcalpha2-6Gal- or NeuGcalpha2-3Gal-containing receptors. These findings provide important information that can be used to develop inhibitors that prevent human parainfluenza virus infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbohydrate Sequence
  • Galactose / metabolism
  • Gangliosides / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid / metabolism
  • Parainfluenza Virus 1, Human / metabolism*
  • Parainfluenza Virus 3, Human / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Virus / metabolism*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Gangliosides
  • Receptors, Virus
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid
  • Galactose