Measles Virus Receptors

Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2009;329:13-30. doi: 10.1007/978-3-540-70523-9_2.


Measles virus (MV) has two envelope glycoproteins, the hemagglutinin (H) and fusion protein, which are responsible for attachment and membrane fusion, respectively. Signaling lymphocyte activation molecule (SLAM, also called CD150), a membrane glycoprotein expressed on immune cells, acts as the principal cellular receptor for MV, accounting for its lymphotropism and immunosuppressive nature. MV also infects polarized epithelial cells via an as yet unknown receptor molecule, thereby presumably facilitating transmission via aerosol droplets. Vaccine and laboratory-adapted strains of MV use ubiquitously expressed CD46 as an alternate receptor through amino acid substitutions in the H protein. The crystal structure of the H protein indicates that the putative binding sites for SLAM, CD46, and the epithelial cell receptor are strategically located in different positions of the H protein. Other molecules have also been implicated in MV infection, although their relevance remains to be determined. The identification of MV receptors has advanced our understanding of MV tropism and pathogenesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / genetics
  • Antigens, CD / immunology
  • Cell Line
  • Epithelial Cells / immunology
  • Epithelial Cells / virology
  • Hemagglutinins, Viral / chemistry
  • Hemagglutinins, Viral / genetics
  • Hemagglutinins, Viral / immunology
  • Humans
  • Measles / genetics
  • Measles / immunology*
  • Measles / virology*
  • Measles virus / chemistry
  • Measles virus / genetics
  • Measles virus / pathogenicity
  • Measles virus / physiology*
  • Membrane Cofactor Protein / genetics
  • Membrane Cofactor Protein / immunology
  • Morbillivirus / chemistry
  • Morbillivirus / genetics
  • Morbillivirus / pathogenicity
  • Morbillivirus / physiology
  • Protein Binding
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / immunology
  • Receptors, Virus / genetics
  • Receptors, Virus / immunology*
  • Signaling Lymphocytic Activation Molecule Family Member 1


  • Antigens, CD
  • Hemagglutinins, Viral
  • Membrane Cofactor Protein
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Virus
  • SLAMF1 protein, human
  • Signaling Lymphocytic Activation Molecule Family Member 1