Human lymphocytes are more susceptible to measles virus than granulocytes, which is attributable to the phenotypic differences of their membrane cofactor protein (CD46)

Immunol Lett. 1995 Dec;48(2):91-5. doi: 10.1016/0165-2478(95)02447-6.


Membrane cofactor protein (MCP, CD46) of the complement system is a measles virus (MV) receptor. Human lymphocytes express a heavily glycosylated (H) and a lightly glycosylated (L) form of MCP, which confers a two-band profile on SDS-PAGE the ratio of which is controlled genetically and organ-specifically. In contrast, granulocytes express a single heavily glycosylated form regardless of lymphocyte MCP phenotype. We investigated susceptibility to MV of granulocytes and lymphocytes from individuals with different lymphocyte MCP phenotypes. In any individual, granulocytes were > 10-fold less susceptible to MV than lymphocytes, and the lymphocytes with predominant H form were generally less susceptible to those with an increasing amount of L form. Thus, lymphocytes always exhibit high susceptibility to MV compared to granulocytes in all individuals. This finding may explain the lymphopenia and immunosuppression observed secondary to MV infection.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / analysis
  • Antigens, CD / classification*
  • CHO Cells
  • Cricetinae
  • Granulocytes / immunology
  • Granulocytes / virology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Lymphocytes / virology*
  • Measles virus / immunology*
  • Membrane Cofactor Protein
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / analysis
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / classification*
  • Receptors, Virus / analysis
  • Receptors, Virus / classification*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Antigens, CD
  • CD46 protein, human
  • Membrane Cofactor Protein
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Receptors, Virus