Glycan Recognition in Human Norovirus Infections

Viruses. 2021 Oct 14;13(10):2066. doi: 10.3390/v13102066.


Recognition of cell-surface glycans is an important step in the attachment of several viruses to susceptible host cells. The molecular basis of glycan interactions and their functional consequences are well studied for human norovirus (HuNoV), an important gastrointestinal pathogen. Histo-blood group antigens (HBGAs), a family of fucosylated carbohydrate structures that are present on the cell surface, are utilized by HuNoVs to initially bind to cells. In this review, we describe the discovery of HBGAs as genetic susceptibility factors for HuNoV infection and review biochemical and structural studies investigating HuNoV binding to different HBGA glycans. Recently, human intestinal enteroids (HIEs) were developed as a laboratory cultivation system for HuNoV. We review how the use of this novel culture system has confirmed that fucosylated HBGAs are necessary and sufficient for infection by several HuNoV strains, describe mechanisms of antibody-mediated neutralization of infection that involve blocking of HuNoV binding to HBGAs, and discuss the potential for using the HIE model to answer unresolved questions on viral interactions with HBGAs and other glycans.

Keywords: glycoconjugates; histo-blood group antigens; host–virus interactions; human intestinal enteroids/organoids; human noroviruses; structure.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Group Antigens / chemistry
  • Blood Group Antigens / genetics
  • Blood Group Antigens / metabolism*
  • Caliciviridae Infections / epidemiology
  • Caliciviridae Infections / metabolism*
  • Fucosyltransferases / genetics
  • Glycoconjugates
  • Host Microbial Interactions
  • Humans
  • Intestines
  • Models, Molecular
  • Norovirus / genetics
  • Polysaccharides / genetics
  • Polysaccharides / metabolism*
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Domains
  • Virus Attachment


  • Blood Group Antigens
  • Glycoconjugates
  • Polysaccharides
  • Fucosyltransferases
  • galactoside 2-alpha-L-fucosyltransferase