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Virus-receptor interactions play a key regulatory role in viral host range, tissue tropism, and viral pathogenesis. Viruses utilize elegant strategies to attach to one or multiple receptors, overcome the plasma membrane barrier, enter, and access the necessary host cell machinery. The viral attachment protein can be viewed as the "key" that unlocks host cells by interacting with the "lock"-the receptor-on the cell surface, and these lock-and-key interactions are critical for viruses to successfully invade host cells. Many common themes have emerged in virus-receptor utilization within and across virus families demonstrating that viruses often target particular classes of molecules in order to mediate these events. Common viral receptors include sialylated glycans, cell adhesion molecules such as immunoglobulin superfamily members and integrins, and phosphatidylserine receptors. The redundancy in receptor usage suggests that viruses target particular receptors or "common locks" to take advantage of their cellular function and also suggests evolutionary conservation. Due to the importance of initial virus interactions with host cells in viral pathogenesis and the redundancy in viral receptor usage, exploitation of these strategies would be an attractive target for new antiviral therapeutics. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Melissa S Maginnis. Virus-Receptor Interactions: The Key to Cellular Invasion. Journal of molecular biology. 2018 Aug 17;430(17):2590-2611

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PMID: 29924965

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