Virus entry. Lassa virus entry requires a trigger-induced receptor switch

Science. 2014 Jun 27;344(6191):1506-10. doi: 10.1126/science.1252480.


Lassa virus spreads from a rodent to humans and can lead to lethal hemorrhagic fever. Despite its broad tropism, chicken cells were reported 30 years ago to resist infection. We found that Lassa virus readily engaged its cell-surface receptor α-dystroglycan in avian cells, but virus entry in susceptible species involved a pH-dependent switch to an intracellular receptor, the lysosome-resident protein LAMP1. Iterative haploid screens revealed that the sialyltransferase ST3GAL4 was required for the interaction of the virus glycoprotein with LAMP1. A single glycosylated residue in LAMP1, present in susceptible species but absent in birds, was essential for interaction with the Lassa virus envelope protein and subsequent infection. The resistance of Lamp1-deficient mice to Lassa virus highlights the relevance of this receptor switch in vivo.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / virology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chickens
  • Dystroglycans / genetics
  • Dystroglycans / metabolism
  • Glycosylation
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Lassa Fever / virology
  • Lassa virus / physiology*
  • Lysosomal-Associated Membrane Protein 1 / chemistry
  • Lysosomal-Associated Membrane Protein 1 / metabolism*
  • Lysosomes / metabolism
  • Lysosomes / virology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Binding
  • Receptors, Virus / metabolism*
  • Sialyltransferases / metabolism
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / metabolism*
  • Virus Internalization*
  • beta-Galactoside alpha-2,3-Sialyltransferase


  • Lysosomal-Associated Membrane Protein 1
  • Receptors, Virus
  • Viral Envelope Proteins
  • Dystroglycans
  • Sialyltransferases
  • beta-Galactoside alpha-2,3-Sialyltransferase

Associated data

  • SRA/SRP041566