Differential requirements of Rab5 and Rab7 for endocytosis of influenza and other enveloped viruses

Traffic. 2003 May;4(5):333-43. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0854.2003.00090.x.


Enveloped viruses often enter cells via endocytosis; however, specific endocytic trafficking pathway(s) for many viruses have not been determined. Here we demonstrate, through the use of dominant-negative Rab5 and Rab7, that influenza virus (Influenza A/WSN/33 (H1N1) and A/X-31 (H3N2)) requires both early and late endosomes for entry and subsequent infection in HeLa cells. Time-course experiments, monitoring viral ribonucleoprotein colocalization with endosomal markers, indicated that influenza exhibits a conventional endocytic uptake pattern--reaching early endosomes after approximately 10 min, and late endosomes after 40 min. Detection with conformation-specific hemagglutinin antibodies indicated that hemagglutinin did not reach a fusion-competent form until the virus had trafficked beyond early endosomes. We also examined two other enveloped viruses that are also pH-dependent for entry--Semliki Forest virus and vesicular stomatitis virus. In contrast to influenza virus, infection with both Semliki Forest virus and vesicular stomatitis virus was inhibited only by the expression of dominant negative Rab5 and not by dominant negative Rab7, indicating an independence of late endosome function for infection by these viruses. As a whole, these data provide a definitive characterization of influenza virus endocytic trafficking and show differential requirements for endocytic trafficking between pH-dependent enveloped viruses.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alphavirus Infections / metabolism
  • Alphavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Endocytosis / physiology*
  • Endosomes
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Orthomyxoviridae / metabolism*
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / metabolism*
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / prevention & control
  • Rhabdoviridae Infections / metabolism
  • Rhabdoviridae Infections / prevention & control
  • Semliki forest virus / metabolism
  • Vesicular stomatitis Indiana virus / metabolism
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • rab5 GTP-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • rab5 GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*


  • rab7 protein
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins
  • rab5 GTP-Binding Proteins