Relevance of Host Cell Surface Glycan Structure for Cell Specificity of Influenza A Viruses Kastner, Markus; Karner, Andreas; Zhu, Rong; Huang, Qiang; Geissner, Andreas; Sadewasser, Anne; Lesch, Markus; Wörmann, Xenia; Karlas, Alexander; Seeberger, Peter H.; et al.
Influenza A viruses (IAVs) initiate infection via binding of the viral hemagglutinin (HA) to sialylated glycans on host cells. HA’s receptor specificity towards individual glycans is well studied and clearly critical for virus infection, but the contribution of the highly heterogeneous and complex glycocalyx to virus–cell adhesion remains elusive. Here, we use two complementary methods, glycan arrays and single-virus force spectroscopy (SVFS), to compare influenza virus receptor specificity with virus binding to live cells. Unexpectedly, we found that HA’s receptor binding preference does not necessarily reflect virus–cell specificity. We propose SVFS as a tool to elucidate the cell binding preference of IAVs, thereby including the complex environment of sialylated receptors within the plasma membrane of living cells.
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