Virology. 1999 Mar 15;255(2):228-36.

Specific binding of recombinant foamy virus envelope protein to host cells correlates with susceptibility to infection.

Herchenröder O, Moosmayer D, Bock M, Pietschmann T, Rethwilm A, Bieniasz PD, McClure MO, Weis R, Schneider J.
The interaction of simian foamy viruses (FVs) with their putative cellular receptor(s) was studied with two types of recombinant envelope protein (Env). Transient expression of full-length Env in BHK-21 cells induced syncytia formation. However, selected stable transfectants fused with naive cells but not with each other. A soluble fusion protein of the Env surface domain with the Fc fragment of a human IgG1 heavy chain (EnvSU-Ig) was produced in the baculovirus expression system, purified to homogeneity, and used for binding and competition analyses. EnvSU-Ig but not unrelated Ig fusion proteins bound to cells specifically. Neutralizing serum blocked binding of EnvSU-Ig and, vice versa, serum-mediated neutralization was abrogated by the chimeric protein. Concomitant reduction of EnvSU-Ig binding and FV susceptibility was seen in Env-expressing target cells. Although EnvSU-Ig did not inhibit FV infection, very likely due to its displacement by multivalent virus-cell interactions, this divalent ligand should help to characterize functionally and to identify the ubiquitous FV receptor.
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