Genogroup IV and VI canine noroviruses interact with histo-blood group antigens

J Virol. 2014 Sep;88(18):10377-91. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01008-14. Epub 2014 Jul 9.


Human noroviruses (HuNV) are a significant cause of viral gastroenteritis in humans worldwide. HuNV attaches to cell surface carbohydrate structures known as histo-blood group antigens (HBGAs) prior to internalization, and HBGA polymorphism among human populations is closely linked to susceptibility to HuNV. Noroviruses are divided into 6 genogroups, with human strains grouped into genogroups I (GI), II, and IV. Canine norovirus (CNV) is a recently discovered pathogen in dogs, with strains classified into genogroups IV and VI. Whereas it is known that GI to GIII noroviruses bind to HBGAs and GV noroviruses recognize terminal sialic acid residues, the attachment factors for GIV and GVI noroviruses have not been reported. This study sought to determine the carbohydrate binding specificity of CNV and to compare it to the binding specificities of noroviruses from other genogroups. A panel of synthetic oligosaccharides were used to assess the binding specificity of CNV virus-like particles (VLPs) and identified α1,2-fucose as a key attachment factor. CNV VLP binding to canine saliva and tissue samples using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) and immunohistochemistry confirmed that α1,2-fucose-containing H and A antigens of the HBGA family were recognized by CNV. Phenotyping studies demonstrated expression of these antigens in a population of dogs. The virus-ligand interaction was further characterized using blockade studies, cell lines expressing HBGAs, and enzymatic removal of candidate carbohydrates from tissue sections. Recognition of HBGAs by CNV provides new insights into the evolution of noroviruses and raises concerns regarding the potential for zoonotic transmission of CNV to humans.

Importance: Infections with human norovirus cause acute gastroenteritis in millions of people each year worldwide. Noroviruses can also affect nonhuman species and are divided into 6 different groups based on their capsid sequences. Human noroviruses in genogroups I and II interact with histo-blood group antigen carbohydrates, bovine noroviruses (genogroup III) interact with alpha-galactosidase (α-Gal) carbohydrates, and murine norovirus (genogroup V) recognizes sialic acids. The canine-specific strains of norovirus are grouped into genogroups IV and VI, and this study is the first to characterize which carbohydrate structures they can recognize. Using canine norovirus virus-like particles, this work shows that representative genogroup IV and VI viruses can interact with histo-blood group antigens. The binding specificity of canine noroviruses is therefore very similar to that of the human norovirus strains classified into genogroups I and II. This raises interesting questions about the evolution of noroviruses and suggests it may be possible for canine norovirus to infect humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Blood Group Antigens / genetics
  • Blood Group Antigens / metabolism*
  • Capsid Proteins / chemistry
  • Capsid Proteins / genetics
  • Capsid Proteins / metabolism
  • Cattle
  • Dog Diseases / metabolism*
  • Dog Diseases / virology
  • Dogs
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Female
  • Gastroenteritis / metabolism
  • Gastroenteritis / veterinary*
  • Gastroenteritis / virology
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Norovirus / chemistry
  • Norovirus / classification
  • Norovirus / genetics
  • Norovirus / metabolism*
  • Protein Binding
  • Sequence Alignment


  • Blood Group Antigens
  • Capsid Proteins