The neonatal Fc receptor is a pan-echovirus receptor

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Feb 26;116(9):3758-3763. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1817341116. Epub 2019 Feb 11.


Echoviruses are amongst the most common causative agents of aseptic meningitis worldwide and are particularly devastating in the neonatal population, where they are associated with severe hepatitis, neurological disease, including meningitis and encephalitis, and even death. Here, we identify the neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) as a pan-echovirus receptor. We show that loss of expression of FcRn or its binding partner beta 2 microglobulin (β2M) renders cells resistant to infection by a panel of echoviruses at the stage of virus attachment, and that a blocking antibody to β2M inhibits echovirus infection in cell lines and in primary human intestinal epithelial cells. We also show that expression of human, but not mouse, FcRn renders nonpermissive human and mouse cells sensitive to echovirus infection and that the extracellular domain of human FcRn directly binds echovirus particles and neutralizes infection. Lastly, we show that neonatal mice expressing human FcRn are more susceptible to echovirus infection by the enteral route. Our findings thus identify FcRn as a pan-echovirus receptor, which may explain the enhanced susceptibility of neonates to echovirus infections.

Keywords: FcRn; echovirus; enterovirus; neonatal Fc receptor; virus receptor.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Echovirus Infections / genetics
  • Echovirus Infections / immunology
  • Echovirus Infections / virology
  • Enterovirus B, Human / genetics*
  • Enterovirus B, Human / pathogenicity
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / genetics
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / cytology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Protein Binding
  • Receptors, Fc / genetics*
  • Receptors, Virus / genetics*
  • beta 2-Microglobulin / genetics*
  • beta 2-Microglobulin / immunology


  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Receptors, Fc
  • Receptors, Virus
  • beta 2-Microglobulin
  • Fc receptor, neonatal