Research ArticleVIROLOGY

Human adenovirus type 26 uses sialic acid–bearing glycans as a primary cell entry receptor

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Science Advances  04 Sep 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 9, eaax3567
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax3567


Adenoviruses are clinically important agents. They cause respiratory distress, gastroenteritis, and epidemic keratoconjunctivitis. As non-enveloped, double-stranded DNA viruses, they are easily manipulated, making them popular vectors for therapeutic applications, including vaccines. Species D adenovirus type 26 (HAdV-D26) is both a cause of EKC and other diseases and a promising vaccine vector. HAdV-D26–derived vaccines are under investigation as protective platforms against HIV, Zika, and respiratory syncytial virus infections and are in phase 3 clinical trials for Ebola. We recently demonstrated that HAdV-D26 does not use CD46 or Desmoglein-2 as entry receptors, while the putative interaction with coxsackie and adenovirus receptor is low affinity and unlikely to represent the primary cell receptor. Here, we establish sialic acid as a primary entry receptor used by HAdV-D26. We demonstrate that removal of cell surface sialic acid inhibits HAdV-D26 infection, and provide a high-resolution crystal structure of HAdV-D26 fiber-knob in complex with sialic acid.

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