Animal morbilliviruses and their cross-species transmission potential

Curr Opin Virol. 2020 Apr:41:38-45. doi: 10.1016/j.coviro.2020.03.005. Epub 2020 Apr 25.


Like measles virus (MV), whose primary hosts are humans, non-human animal morbilliviruses use SLAM (signaling lymphocytic activation molecule) and PVRL4 (nectin-4) expressed on immune and epithelial cells, respectively, as receptors. PVRL4's amino acid sequence is highly conserved across species, while that of SLAM varies significantly. However, non-host animal SLAMs often function as receptors for different morbilliviruses. Uniquely, human SLAM is somewhat specific for MV, but canine distemper virus, which shows the widest host range among morbilliviruses, readily gains the ability to use human SLAM. The host range for morbilliviruses is also modulated by their ability to counteract the host's innate immunity, but the risk of cross-species transmission of non-human animal morbilliviruses to humans could occur if MV is successfully eradicated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / genetics
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism
  • Host Specificity
  • Humans
  • Morbillivirus / genetics
  • Morbillivirus / physiology*
  • Morbillivirus Infections / metabolism
  • Morbillivirus Infections / transmission
  • Morbillivirus Infections / veterinary*
  • Morbillivirus Infections / virology*
  • Receptors, Virus / genetics
  • Receptors, Virus / metabolism
  • Signaling Lymphocytic Activation Molecule Family Member 1 / genetics
  • Signaling Lymphocytic Activation Molecule Family Member 1 / metabolism
  • Viral Zoonoses / genetics
  • Viral Zoonoses / metabolism
  • Viral Zoonoses / transmission*
  • Viral Zoonoses / virology


  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Receptors, Virus
  • Signaling Lymphocytic Activation Molecule Family Member 1