Searching For the Flock House Virus Cellular Receptor

Kristen Delwiche, University of Puget Sound


The mechanism for non-enveloped virus host-cell penetration remains poorly understood. Flock House Virus (FHV), a small insect virus that infects Drosophila melanogaster cells in tissue culture, is an excellent model system for studying how non-enveloped viruses enter and infect cells. There is a wealth of high-resolution structural information available, and it is simple, consisting only of two single-stranded RNA genome segments surrounded by an icosahedral protein capsid. In this study, chemical-cross-linking and affinity chromatography were used to search for candidate receptor proteins for FHV. Several candidate proteins were identified, but the results remain inconclusive and additional research is required to confirm that these proteins are in fact possible receptors. Ultimately, characterization of the virus-receptor interactions for FHV may contribute to the development of a more precise model of nonenveloped virus cell entry that can potentially be applied to other viruses that cause serious human disease.