Arenavirus entry occurs through a cholesterol-dependent, non-caveolar, clathrin-mediated endocytic mechanism

Eric M. Vela, Lihong Zhang, Tonya M. Colpitts, Robert A. Davey, Judith F. Aronson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Arenaviruses are important causes of viral hemorrhagic fevers in humans. Arenavirus infection of cells occurs via a pH-dependent endocytic route, but detailed studies of entry pathways have not been done. We investigated the role of cell membrane cholesterol, caveolae, and clathrin coated pits in infection by Lassa virus (LASV), which utilizes alpha-dystroglycan (α-DG) as a receptor, and Pichindé virus (PICV), which does not. Depletion of cellular cholesterol by treatment with methyl betacyclodextrin (MβCD) or nystatin/progesterone inhibited PICV replication and transfer of packaged marker gene by LASV or PICV pseudotyped retroviral particles. In cells lacking caveolae due to silencing of the caveolin-1 gene, no inhibition of PICV infection or LASV pseudotype transduction was observed. However, PICV infection and LASV and PICV pseudotype transduction was inhibited when an Eps15 dominant negative mutant was used to inhibit clathrin-mediated endocytosis. Altogether, the results indicate that diverse arenaviruses have a common requirement for cell membrane cholesterol and clathrin mediated endocytosis in establishing infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 5 2007


  • Arenavirus
  • Cholesterol
  • Clathrin
  • Hemorrhagic fever
  • Lassa virus
  • Pichindé virus
  • Viral entry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology


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