Noroviruses bind to human ABO, Lewis, and secretor histo-blood group antigens: identification of 4 distinct strain-specific patterns

J Infect Dis. 2003 Jul 1;188(1):19-31. doi: 10.1086/375742. Epub 2003 Jun 12.


We characterized the binding of 8 Noroviruses (NORs) to histo-blood group antigens (HBGAs) in human saliva using recombinant NOR (rNOR) capsid proteins. Among the 8 rNORs tested, 6 formed viruslike particles (VLPs) when the capsid proteins were expressed in insect cells, all of which revealed variable binding activities with saliva; the remaining 2 rNORs did not form VLPs, and the proteins did not bind, or bound weakly, to saliva. Four distinct binding patterns were associated with different histo-blood types, defined by Lewis, secretor, and ABO types. Three patterns (VA387, NV, and MOH) recognized secretors, and 1 pattern (VA207) recognized Lewis-positive nonsecretors. The 3 secretor-recognizing patterns were defined as A/B (MOH), A/O (NV), and A/B/O (VA387) binders. Oligosaccharides containing the Lewis and ABH antigenic epitopes were involved in binding. Our findings suggest that different strains of NORs may recognize different human HBGAs on intestinal epithelial cells as receptors for infection.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • ABO Blood-Group System / metabolism
  • Blood Group Antigens / metabolism*
  • Capsid Proteins / metabolism
  • Epitopes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / immunology
  • Lewis Blood Group Antigens / metabolism
  • Norovirus / classification*
  • Norovirus / immunology
  • Norovirus / metabolism*
  • Oligosaccharides / metabolism
  • Phylogeny
  • Protein Binding
  • Receptors, Virus / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Virus / metabolism*
  • Saliva / metabolism
  • Saliva / virology
  • Species Specificity


  • ABO Blood-Group System
  • Blood Group Antigens
  • Capsid Proteins
  • Epitopes
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Lewis Blood Group Antigens
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Receptors, Virus