Canine and feline parvoviruses preferentially recognize the non-human cell surface sialic acid N-glycolylneuraminic acid

Virology. 2013 May 25;440(1):89-96. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2013.02.009. Epub 2013 Mar 14.


Feline panleukopenia virus (FPV) is a pathogen whose canine-adapted form (canine parvovirus (CPV)) emerged in 1978. These viruses infect by binding host transferrin receptor type-1 (TfR), but also hemagglutinate erythrocytes. We show that hemagglutination involves selective recognition of the non-human sialic acid N-glycolylneuraminic acid (Neu5Gc) but not N-acetylneuraminic acid (Neu5Ac), which differs by only one oxygen atom from Neu5Gc. Overexpression of α2-6 sialyltransferase did not change binding, indicating that both α2-3 and α2-6 linkages are recognized. However, Neu5Gc expression on target cells did not enhance CPV or FPV infection in vitro. Thus, the conserved Neu5Gc-binding preference of these viruses likely plays a role in the natural history of the virus in vivo. Further studies must clarify relationships between virus infection and host Neu5Gc expression. As a first step, we show that transcripts of CMAH (which generates Neu5Gc from Neu5Ac) are at very low levels in Western dog breed cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Dogs
  • Erythrocytes / virology
  • Feline Panleukopenia Virus / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Viral
  • Humans
  • Macaca mulatta / blood
  • Neuraminic Acids / chemistry
  • Neuraminic Acids / metabolism*
  • Pan troglodytes
  • Parvovirus, Canine / metabolism*
  • Species Specificity
  • Virus Attachment


  • Neuraminic Acids
  • N-glycolylneuraminic acid