Human and bovine coronaviruses recognize sialic acid-containing receptors similar to those of influenza C viruses

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1988 Jun;85(12):4526-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.85.12.4526.


Human coronavirus OC43 and bovine coronavirus elute from agglutinated chicken erythrocytes when incubated at 37 degrees C, suggesting the presence of a receptor-destroying enzyme. Moreover, bovine coronavirus exhibits an acetylesterase activity in vitro using bovine submaxillary mucin as substrate similar to the enzymatic activity found in influenza C viruses. Furthermore, pretreatment of erythrocytes with either influenza C virus or bovine coronavirus eliminates subsequent binding and agglutination by either coronaviruses or influenza C virus, whereas binding of influenza A virus remains intact. In addition, hemagglutination by coronaviruses can be inhibited by pretreatment of erythrocytes with Arthrobacter ureafaciens or Clostridium perfringens neuraminidase or by addition of sialic acid-containing gangliosides. These results suggest that, like influenza C viruses, human coronavirus OC43 and bovine coronavirus recognize O-acetylated sialic acid or a similar derivative as cell receptor.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Coronaviridae / immunology
  • Coronaviridae / physiology*
  • Hemagglutination Inhibition Tests
  • Hemagglutination Tests
  • Humans
  • Influenza A virus / immunology
  • Influenza A virus / physiology
  • Influenzavirus C / immunology
  • Influenzavirus C / physiology*
  • Neuraminidase
  • Orthomyxoviridae / physiology*
  • Receptors, Virus / physiology*
  • Sialic Acids / analysis*
  • Species Specificity


  • Receptors, Virus
  • Sialic Acids
  • Neuraminidase