The coxsackievirus and adenovirus receptor (CAR) has been identified as the cellular receptor for group B coxsackieviruses, including serotype 3 (CVB3). CAR mediates infection by binding to CVB3 and catalyzing conformational changes in the virus that result in formation of the altered, noninfectious A-particle. Kinetic analyses show that the apparent first-order rate constant for the inactivation of CVB3 by soluble CAR (sCAR) at physiological temperatures varies nonlinearly with sCAR concentration. Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) reconstruction of the CVB3-CAR complex resulted in a 9.0-Å resolution map that was interpreted with the four available crystal structures of CAR, providing a consensus footprint for the receptor binding site. The analysis of the cryo-EM structure identifies important virus-receptor interactions that are conserved across picornavirus species. These conserved interactions map to variable antigenic sites or structurally conserved regions, suggesting a combination of evolutionary mechanisms for receptor site preservation. The CAR-catalyzed A-particle structure was solved to a 6.6-Å resolution and shows significant rearrangement of internal features and symmetric interactions with the RNA genome.
Importance: This report presents new information about receptor use by picornaviruses and highlights the importance of attaining at least an ∼9-Å resolution for the interpretation of cryo-EM complex maps. The analysis of receptor binding elucidates two complementary mechanisms for preservation of the low-affinity (initial) interaction of the receptor and defines the kinetics of receptor-catalyzed conformational change to the A-particle.