Nectin 4 is the epithelial cell receptor for measles virus

Trends Microbiol. 2012 Sep;20(9):429-39. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2012.05.006. Epub 2012 Jun 20.


Measles virus (MV) causes acute respiratory disease, infects lymphocytes and multiple organs, and produces immune suppression leading to secondary infections. In rare instances it can also cause persistent infections in the brain and central nervous system. Vaccine and laboratory-adapted strains of MV use CD46 as a receptor, whereas wild-type strains of MV (wtMV) cannot. Both vaccine and wtMV strains infect lymphocytes, monocytes, and dendritic cells (DCs) using the signaling lymphocyte activation molecule (CD150/SLAM). In addition, MV can infect the airway epithelial cells of the host. Nectin 4 (PVRL4) was recently identified as the epithelial cell receptor for MV. Coupled with recent observations made in MV-infected macaques, this discovery has led to a new paradigm for how the virus accesses the respiratory tract and exits the host. Nectin 4 is also a tumor cell marker which is highly expressed on the apical surface of many adenocarcinoma cell lines, making it a potential target for MV oncolytic therapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / therapy
  • Adherens Junctions / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / metabolism
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Epithelial Cells / virology
  • Humans
  • Measles / metabolism
  • Measles / transmission
  • Measles / virology
  • Measles virus / metabolism*
  • Membrane Cofactor Protein / metabolism
  • Oncolytic Virotherapy
  • Protein Transport
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism
  • Receptors, Virus / metabolism*
  • Signaling Lymphocytic Activation Molecule Family Member 1


  • Antigens, CD
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Membrane Cofactor Protein
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Virus
  • SLAMF1 protein, human
  • nectin4 protein, human
  • Signaling Lymphocytic Activation Molecule Family Member 1