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This article is part of the Research Topic Receptor-independent/-associated viral tropism

Review ARTICLE

Front. Microbiol., 06 February 2012 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2012.00034

Filovirus tropism: cellular molecules for viral entry

  • Division of Global Epidemiology, Research Center for Zoonosis Control, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan

In human and non-human primates, filoviruses (Ebola and Marburg viruses) cause severe hemorrhagic fever. Recently, other animals such as pigs and some species of fruit bats have also been shown to be susceptible to these viruses. While having a preference for some cell types such as hepatocytes, endothelial cells, dendritic cells, monocytes, and macrophages, filoviruses are known to be pantropic in infection of primates. The envelope glycoprotein (GP) is responsible for both receptor binding and fusion of the virus envelope with the host cell membrane. It has been demonstrated that filovirus GP interacts with multiple molecules for entry into host cells, whereas none of the cellular molecules so far identified as a receptor/co-receptor fully explains filovirus tissue tropism and host range. Available data suggest that the mucin-like region (MLR) on GP plays an important role in attachment to the preferred target cells, whose infection is likely involved in filovirus pathogenesis, whereas the MLR is not essential for the fundamental function of the GP in viral entry into cells in vitro. Further studies elucidating the mechanisms of cellular entry of filoviruses may shed light on the development of strategies for prophylaxis and treatment of Ebola and Marburg hemorrhagic fevers.

Keywords: filovirus, Ebola virus, Marburg virus, viral glycoprotein, receptor, tropism

Citation: Takada A (2012) Filovirus tropism: cellular molecules for viral entry. Front. Microbio. 3:34. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2012.00034

Received: 24 December 2011; Paper pending published: 11 January 2012;
Accepted: 19 January 2012; Published online: 06 February 2012.

Edited by:

Akio Adachi, University of Tokushima Graduate School, Japan

Reviewed by:

Stefan Pöhlmann, German Primate Center, Germany
Ramon Flick, BioProtection Systems Corporation, USA
Takeshi Noda, University of Tokyo, Japan

Copyright: © 2012 Takada. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial License, which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited.

*Correspondence: Ayato Takada, Division of Global Epidemiology, Research Center for Zoonosis Control, Hokkaido University, Kita-20 Nishi-10, Kita-ku, Sapporo 001-0020, Japan. e-mail: atakada@czc.hokudai.ac.jp