Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), a latent herpesvirus, can cause a severe infection in immunocompromised individuals and is also implicated in some birth defects and in coronary atherosclerosis. HCMV activates multiple cellular signaling pathways, but a cellular receptor that mediates viral entry has been difficult to identify. In the July 24 Nature, Xin Wang and colleagues at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill show that epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a cellular receptor required for human cytomegalovirus entry into cells (Nature, 424:456-461, July 24, 2003).

Wang et al. used human embryonic lung fibroblasts and observed that HCMV addition to these cells transiently activated EGFR. They then transfected EGFR-negative breast cancer cells with an EGFR cDNA and observed that this rendered nonsusceptible cells susceptible to HCMV. In addition, they used ligand displacement and crosslinking analyses and demonstrated that HCMV interacted with EGFR through gB, its principal...

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