Signaling lymphocytic activation molecule (SLAM, CD150) is the universal morbillivirus receptor. Based on the identification of measles virus (MV) hemagglutinin (H) amino acids supporting human SLAM-dependent cell entry, we mutated canine distemper virus (CDV) H and identified residues necessary for efficient canine SLAM-dependent membrane fusion. These residues are located in two nearby clusters in a new CDV H structural model. To completely abolish SLAM-dependent fusion, combinations of mutations were necessary. We rescued a SLAM-blind recombinant CDV with six mutations that did not infect ferret peripheral blood mononuclear cells while retaining full infectivity in epithelial cells.
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