Intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) functions as the cellular receptor for the major group of human rhinoviruses, being not only the target of viral attachment but also the mediator of viral uncoating. The configurations of HRV3-ICAM-1 complexes prepared both at 4°C and physiological temperature (37°C) were analyzed by cryoelectron microscopy and image reconstruction. The particle diameters of two complexes (with and without RNA) representing uncoating intermediates generated at 37°C were each 4% larger than that of those prepared at 4°C. The larger virus particle arose by an expansive movement of the capsid pentamers along the fivefold axis, which loosens interprotomer contacts, particularly at the canyon region where the ICAM-1 receptor bound. Particle expansion required receptor binding and preceded the egress of the viral RNA. These observations suggest that receptor-mediated uncoating could be a consequence of restrained capsid motion, where the bound receptors maintain the viral capsid in an expanded open state for subsequent genome release.
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