Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a widespread opportunistic herpesvirus that causes severe and fatal diseases in immune-compromised individuals, including organ transplant recipients and individuals with AIDS1. It is also a leading cause of virus-associated birth defects and is associated with atherosclerosis and coronary restenosis1,2,3. HCMV initiates infection and intracellular signalling by binding to its cognate cellular receptors4,5 and by activating several signalling pathways including those mediated by mitogen-activated protein kinase5,6,7, phosphatidylinositol-3-OH kinase8, interferons5,9, and G proteins10. But a cellular receptor responsible for viral entry and HCMV-induced signalling has yet to be identified. Here we show that HCMV infects cells by interacting with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and inducing signalling. Transfecting EGFR-negative cells with an EGFR complementary DNA renders non-susceptible cells susceptible to HCMV. Ligand displacement and crosslinking analyses show that HCMV interacts with EGFR through gB, its principal envelope glycoprotein. gB preferentially binds EGFR and EGFR–ErbB3 oligomeric molecules in Chinese hamster ovary cells transfected with erbB family cDNAs. Taken together, these data indicate that EGFR is a necessary component for HCMV-triggered signalling and viral entry.
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We thank S. Kenney, D. Y. Huang, B. Y. Huang, D. Evers, A. Gartner, A. T. Pelletier and J. S. Pagano for discussion, technical assistance and critically reading the manuscript. This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (to E.-S. H.).
The authors declare that they have no competing financial interests.
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Wang, X., Huong, S., Chiu, M. et al. Epidermal growth factor receptor is a cellular receptor for human cytomegalovirus. Nature 424, 456–461 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature01818
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