Tyrosine kinase receptor Axl enhances entry of Zaire ebolavirus without direct interactions with the viral glycoprotein

Melinda A. Brindley, Catherine L. Hunt, Andrew S. Kondratowicz, Jill Bowman, Patrick L. Sinn, Paul B. McCray, Kathrina Quinn, Melodie L. Weller, John A. Chiorini, Wendy Maury

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86 Scopus citations


In a bioinformatics-based screen for cellular genes that enhance Zaire ebolavirus (ZEBOV) transduction, AXL mRNA expression strongly correlated with ZEBOV infection. A series of cell lines and primary cells were identified that require Axl for optimal ZEBOV entry. Using one of these cell lines, we identified ZEBOV entry events that are Axl-dependent. Interactions between ZEBOV-GP and the Axl ectodomain were not detected in immunoprecipitations and reduction of surface-expressed Axl by RNAi did not alter ZEBOV-GP binding, providing evidence that Axl does not serve as a receptor for the virus. However, RNAi knock down of Axl reduced ZEBOV pseudovirion internalization and α-Axl antisera inhibited pseudovirion fusion with cellular membranes. Consistent with the importance of Axl for ZEBOV transduction, Axl transiently co-localized on the surface of cells with ZEBOV virus particles and was internalized during virion transduction. In total, these findings indicate that endosomal uptake of filoviruses is facilitated by Axl.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-94
Number of pages12
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 5 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by NIH AI064526 and AI073330 (W.M.), NIH HL075363 (P.B.M.) and intramural NIH NIAID biodefense and NIH NIDCR grants to J.A.C. M.A.B. and A.S.K. were supported through NIH T32 A1007533 , a training grant in molecular virology.


  • Axl
  • Ebolavirus
  • Filovirus
  • Marburgvirus
  • Tyrosine kinase receptors
  • Virus entry


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