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, 23 (1-2), 5-17

Role of Sialic Acid-Containing Molecules in Paramyxovirus Entry Into the Host Cell: A Minireview


Role of Sialic Acid-Containing Molecules in Paramyxovirus Entry Into the Host Cell: A Minireview

Enrique Villar et al. Glycoconj J.


Sialic acid-containing compounds play a key role in the initial steps of the paramyxovirus life cycle. As enveloped viruses, their entry into the host cell consists of two main events: binding to the host cell and membrane fusion. Virus adsorption occurs at the surface of the host cell with the recognition of specific receptor molecules located at the cell membrane by specific viral attachment proteins. The viral attachment protein present in some paramyxoviruses (Respirovirus, Rubulavirus and Avulavirus) is the HN glycoprotein, which binds to cellular sialic acid-containing molecules and exhibits sialidase and fusion promotion activities. Gangliosides of the gangliotetraose series bearing the sialic acid N-acetylneuraminic (Neu5Ac) on the terminal galactose attached in alpha2-3 linkage, such as GD1a, GT1b, and GQ1b, and neolacto-series gangliosides are the major receptors for Sendai virus. Much less is known about the receptors for other paramyxoviruses than for Sendai virus. Human parainfluenza viruses 1 and 3 preferentially recognize oligosaccharides containing N-acetyllactosaminoglycan branches with terminal Neu5Acalpha2-3Gal. In the case of Newcastle disease virus, has been reported the absence of a specific pattern of the gangliosides that interact with the virus. Additionally, several works have described the use of sialylated glycoproteins as paramyxovirus receptors. Accordingly, the design of specific sialic acid analogs to inhibit the sialidase and/or receptor binding activity of viral attachment proteins is an important antiviral strategy. In spite of all these data, the exact nature of paramyxovirus receptors, apart from their sialylated nature, and the mechanism(s) of viral attachment to the cell surface are poorly understood.

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