Recognition and binding to host glycans present on cellular surfaces is an initial and critical step in viral entry. Diverse families of host glycans such as histo-blood group antigens, sialoglycans and glycosaminoglycans are recognized by viruses. Glycan binding determines virus-host specificity, tissue tropism, pathogenesis and potential for interspecies transmission. Viruses including noroviruses, rotaviruses, enteroviruses, influenza, and papillomaviruses have evolved novel strategies to bind specific glycans often in a strain-specific manner. Structural studies have been instrumental in elucidating the molecular determinants of these virus-glycan interactions, aiding in developing vaccines and antivirals targeting this key interaction. Our review focuses on these key structural aspects of virus-glycan interactions, particularly highlighting the different strain-specific strategies employed by viruses to bind host glycans.
Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Ltd.