Coronavirus species specificity: Murine coronavirus binds to a mouse-specific epitope on its carcinoembryonic antigen-related receptor glycoprotein

Susan R. Compton, Charles B. Stephensen, Stuart W. Snyder, David G. Weismiller, Kathryn V. Holmes

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35 Scopus citations


Like most coronaviruses, the coronavirus mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) exhibits strong species specificity, causing natural infection only in mice. MHV-A59 virions use as a receptor a 110- to 120-kDa glycoprotein (MHVR) in the carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) family of glycoproteins (G. S. Dveksler, M. N. Pensiero, C. B. Cardellichio, R. K. Williams, G. S. Jiang, K. V. Holmes, and C. W. Dieffenbach, J. Virol. 65:6881-6891, 1991; and R. K. Williams, G. S. Jiang, and K. V. Holmes, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 88:5533-5536, 1991). The role of virus-receptor interactions in determining the species specificity of MHV-A59 was examined by comparing the binding of virus and antireceptor antibodies to cell lines and intestinal brush border membranes (BBM) from many species. Polyclonal antireceptor antiserum (anti-MHVR) raised by immunization of SJL/J mice with BALB/c BBM recognized MHVR specifically in immunoblots of BALB/c BBM but not in BBM from adult SJL/J mice that are resistant to infection with MHV-A59, indicating a major difference in epitopes between MHVR and its SJL/J homolog which does not bind MHV (7). Anti-MHVR bound to plasma membranes of MHV-susceptible murine cell lines but not to membranes of human, cat, dog, monkey, or hamster cell lines. Cell lines from these species were resistant to MHV-A59 infection, and only the murine cell lines tested were susceptible. Pretreatment of murine fibroblasts with anti-MHVR prevented binding of radiolabeled virions to murine cells and prevented virus infection. Solid-phase virus-binding assays and virus overlay protein blot assays showed that MHV-A59 virions bound to MHVR on intestinal BBM from MHV-susceptible mouse strains but not to proteins on intestinal BBM from humans, cats, dogs pigs, cows, rabbits, rats, cotton rats, or chickens. In immunoblots of BBM from these species, both polyclonal and monoclonal antireceptor antibodies that block MHV-A59 infection of murine cells recognized only the murine CEA-related glycoprotein and not homologous CEA-related glycoproteins of other species. These results suggest that MHV-A59 binds to a mouse-specific epitope of MHVR, and they support the hypothesis that the species specificity of MHV-A59 infection may be due to the specificity of the virus-receptor interaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7420-7428
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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