The avian coronavirus infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) strain Beaudette is an embryo-adapted virus that has extended species tropism in cell culture. In order to understand the acquired tropism of the Beaudette strain, we compared the S protein sequences of several IBV strains. The Beaudette strain was found to contain a putative heparan sulfate (HS)-binding site, indicating that the Beaudette virus may use HS as a selective receptor. To ascertain the requirements of cell-surface HS for Beaudette infectivity, we assayed for infectivity in the presence of soluble heparin as a competitor and determined infectivity in mutant cell lines with no HS or glycosaminoglycan expression. Our results indicate that HS plays a role as an attachment factor for IBV, working in concert with other factors like sialic acid to mediate virus binding to cells, and may explain in part the extended tropism of IBV Beaudette.
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Vol. 51 • No. 1