Plxdc family members are novel receptors for the rhesus monkey rhadinovirus (RRV)

Anna K. Großkopf, Sarah Schlagowski, Thomas Fricke, Armin Ensser, Ronald C. Desrosiers, Alexander S. Hahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The rhesus monkey rhadinovirus (RRV), a γl2-herpesvirus of rhesus macaques, shares many biological features with the human pathogenic Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV). Both viruses, as well as the more distantly related Epstein-Barr virus, engage cellular receptors from the Eph family of receptor tyrosine kinases (Ephs). However, the importance of the Eph interaction for RRV entry varies between cell types suggesting the existence of Eph-independent entry pathways. We therefore aimed to identify additional cellular receptors for RRV by affinity enrichment and mass spectrometry. We identified an additional receptor family, the Plexin domain containing proteins 1 and 2 (Plxdc1/2) that bind the RRV gH/gL glycoprotein complex. Preincubation of RRV with soluble Plxdc2 decoy receptor reduced infection by -60%, while overexpression of Plxdc1 and 2 dramatically enhanced RRV susceptibility and cell-cell fusion of otherwise marginally permissive Raji cells. While the Plxdc2 interaction is conserved between two RRV strains, 26-95 and 17577, Plxdc1 specifically interacts with RRV 26-95 gH. The Plxdc interaction is mediated by a short motif at the N-terminus of RRV gH that is partially conserved between isolate 26-95 and isolate 17577, but absent in KSHV gH. Mutation of this motif abrogated the interaction with Plxdc1/ 2 and reduced RRV infection in a cell type-specific manner. Taken together, our findings characterize Plxdc1/2 as novel interaction partners and entry receptors for RRV and support the concept of the N-terminal domain of the gammaherpesviral gH/gL complex as a multifunctional receptor-binding domain. Further, Plxdc1/2 usage defines an important biological difference between KSHV and RRV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1008979
JournalPLoS pathogens
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Virology


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