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Idiosyncratic Mòjiāng virus attachment glycoprotein directs a host-cell entry pathway distinct from genetically related henipaviruses

Nat Commun 12th Jul 2017 Rissanen I, Ahmed AA, Azarm K, Beaty S, Hong P, Nambulli S, Duprex WP, Lee B, Bowden TA,
  • Professor Thomas A. Bowden

In 2012, cases of lethal pneumonia among Chinese miners prompted the isolation of a rat-borne henipavirus (HNV), Mòjiāng virus (MojV). Although MojV is genetically related to highly pathogenic bat-borne henipaviruses, the absence of a conserved ephrin receptor-binding motif in the MojV attachment glycoprotein (MojV-G) indicates a differing host-cell recognition mechanism. Here we find that MojV-G displays a six-bladed β-propeller fold bearing limited similarity to known paramyxoviral attachment glycoproteins, in particular at host receptor-binding surfaces. We confirm the inability of MojV-G to interact with known paramyxoviral receptors in vitro, indicating an independence from well-characterized ephrinB2/B3, sialic acid and CD150-mediated entry pathways. Furthermore, we find that MojV-G is antigenically distinct, indicating that MojV would less likely be detected in existing large-scale serological screening studies focused on well-established HNVs. Altogether, these data indicate a unique host-cell entry pathway for this emerging and potentially pathogenic HNV.