Use of a glycan library reveals a new model for enteric virus oligosaccharide binding and virion stabilization

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3 Scopus citations


Enteric viruses infect the gastrointestinal tract, and bacteria can promote replication and transmission of several enteric viruses. Viruses can be inactivated by exposure to heat or bleach, but poliovirus, coxsackievirus B3, and reovirus can be stabilized by bacteria or bacterial polysaccharides, limiting inactivation and aiding transmission. We previously demonstrated that certain N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc)-containing polysaccharides can stabilize poliovirus. However, the detailed virus-glycan binding specificity and glycan chain length requirements, and thus the mechanism of virion stabilization, have been unclear. A previous limitation was our lack of defined-length glycans to probe mechanisms and consequences of virusglycan interactions. Here, we generated a panel of polysaccharides and oligosaccharides to determine the properties required for binding and stabilization of poliovirus. Poliovirus virions are nonenveloped icosahedral 30-nm particles with 60 copies of each of four capsid proteins, VP1 to VP4. VP1 surrounds the 5-fold axis, and our past work indicates that this region likely contains the glycan binding site. We found that relatively short GlcNAc oligosaccharides, such as a six-unit GlcNAc oligomer, can bind poliovirus but fail to enhance virion stability. Virion stabilization required binding of long GlcNAc polymers of greater than 20 units. Our data suggest a model where GlcNAc polymers of greater than 20 units bind and bridge adjacent 5-fold axes, thus aiding capsid rigidity and stability. This study provides a deeper understanding of enteric virus-bacterial glycan interactions, which are important for virion environmental stability and transmission. IMPORTANCE Enteric viruses are transmitted through the fecal-oral route, but how enteric viruses survive in the environment is unclear. Previously, we found that bacterial polysaccharides enhance poliovirus stability against heat or bleach inactivation, but the specific molecular requirements have been unknown. Here, we showed that certain short-chain oligosaccharides can bind to poliovirus but do not increase virion stability. Long-chain polysaccharides bind and may bridge adjacent sites on the viral surface, thus increasing capsid rigidity and stability. This work defines the unique interactions of poliovirus and glycans, which provides insight into virion environmental stability and transmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01894-19
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • Enteric virus
  • Glycovirology
  • Poliovirus
  • Virion stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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