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Enterovirus 71 (EV71) is a common cause of hand, foot and mouth disease-a disease endemic especially in the Asia-Pacific region1. Scavenger receptor class B member 2 (SCARB2) is the major receptor of EV71, as well as several other enteroviruses responsible for hand, foot and mouth disease, and plays a key role in cell entry2. The isolated structures of EV71 and SCARB2 are known3-6, but how they interact to initiate infection is not. Here, we report the EV71-SCARB2 complex structure determined at 3.4 Å resolution using cryo-electron microscopy. This reveals that SCARB2 binds EV71 on the southern rim of the canyon, rather than across the canyon, as predicted3,7,8. Helices 152-163 (α5) and 183-193 (α7) of SCARB2 and the viral protein 1 (VP1) GH and VP2 EF loops of EV71 dominate the interaction, suggesting an allosteric mechanism by which receptor binding might facilitate the low-pH uncoating of the virus in the endosome/lysosome. Remarkably, many residues within the binding footprint are not conserved across SCARB2-dependent enteroviruses; however, a conserved proline and glycine seem to be key residues. Thus, although the virus maintains antigenic variability even within the receptor-binding footprint, the identification of binding 'hot spots' may facilitate the design of receptor mimic therapeutics less likely to quickly generate resistance.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Microbiol

Publication Date