Adenovirus endocytosis

J Gene Med. 2003 Jun;5(6):451-62. doi: 10.1002/jgm.409.


Pathogen entry into cells occurs by direct penetration of the plasma membrane, clathrin-mediated endocytosis, caveolar endocytosis, pinocytosis or macropinocytosis. For a particular agent, the infectious pathways are typically restricted, reflecting a tight relationship with the host. Here, we survey the uptake process of human adenovirus (Ad) type 2 and 5 and integrate it into the cell biology of endocytosis. Ad2 and Ad5 naturally infect respiratory epithelial cells. They bind to a primary receptor, the coxsackie virus B Ad receptor (CAR). The CAR-docked particles activate integrin coreceptors and this triggers a variety of cell responses, including endocytosis. Ad2/Ad5 endocytosis is clathrin-mediated and involves the large GTPase dynamin and the adaptor protein 2. A second endocytic process is induced simultaneously with viral uptake, macropinocytosis. Together, these pathways are associated with viral infection. Macropinocytosis requires integrins, F-actin, protein kinase C and small G-proteins of the Rho family, but not dynamin. Macropinocytosis per se is not required for viral uptake into epithelial cells, but it appears to be a productive entry pathway of Ad artificially targeted to the high-affinity Fcgamma receptor CD64 of hematopoietic cells lacking CAR. In epithelial and hematopoietic cells, the macropinosomal contents are released to the cytosol. This requires viral signalling from the surface and coincides with particle escape from endosomes and infection. It emerges that incoming Ad2 and Ad5 distinctly modulate the endocytic trafficking and disrupt selective cellular compartments. These features can be exploited for effective artificial targeting of Ad vectors to cell types of interest.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / pathogenicity*
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Clathrin / metabolism
  • Coxsackie and Adenovirus Receptor-Like Membrane Protein
  • Cytosol / virology
  • Endocytosis*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Receptors, Virus / physiology
  • Respiratory Mucosa / physiology
  • Respiratory Mucosa / virology


  • CLMP protein, human
  • Clathrin
  • Coxsackie and Adenovirus Receptor-Like Membrane Protein
  • Receptors, Virus