Terminal sialic acid linkages determine different cell infectivities of human parainfluenza virus type 1 and type 3

Virology. 2014 Sep:464-465:424-431. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2014.07.033. Epub 2014 Aug 21.


Human parainfluenza virus type 1 (hPIV1) and type 3 (hPIV3) initiate infection by sialic acid binding. Here, we investigated sialic acid linkage specificities for binding and infection of hPIV1 and hPIV3 by using sialic acid linkage-modified cells treated with sialidases or sialyltransferases. The hPIV1 is bound to only α2,3-linked sialic acid residues, whereas hPIV3 is bound to α2,6-linked sialic acid residues in addition to α2,3-linked sialic acid residues in human red blood cells. α2,3 linkage-specific sialidase treatment of LLC-MK2 cells and A549 cells decreased the infectivity of hPIV1 but not that of hPIV3. Treatment of A549 cells with α2,3 linkage-specific sialyltransferase increased infectivities of both hPIV1 and hPIV3, whereas α2,6 linkage-specific sialyltransferase treatment increased only hPIV3 infectivity. Clinical isolates also showed similar sialic acid linkage specificities. We concluded that hPIV1 utilizes only α2,3 sialic acid linkages and that hPIV3 makes use of α2,6 sialic acid linkages in addition to α2,3 sialic acid linkages as viral receptors.

Keywords: Human parainfluenza virus; Receptor specificity; Sialic acid; hPIV1; hPIV3; sialic acid linkages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Humans
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid / chemistry*
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid / metabolism*
  • Parainfluenza Virus 1, Human / genetics
  • Parainfluenza Virus 1, Human / metabolism
  • Parainfluenza Virus 1, Human / pathogenicity*
  • Parainfluenza Virus 3, Human / genetics
  • Parainfluenza Virus 3, Human / metabolism
  • Parainfluenza Virus 3, Human / pathogenicity*
  • Protein Binding
  • Receptors, Virus / chemistry*
  • Receptors, Virus / metabolism*
  • Respirovirus Infections / metabolism*
  • Respirovirus Infections / virology
  • Virulence


  • Receptors, Virus
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid