The identity of the cellular receptor(s) for visna virus, an ovine lentivirus, is currently unknown; however, previous studies from our laboratory have identified membrane-associated proteins expressed selectively in susceptible cells which bind visna virus. Moreover, a polyclonal antibody (2-23), raised against a 45-kDa visna virus binding protein, bound specifically to the surface of susceptible cells in immunofluorescence assays and significantly reduced binding of visna virus to cells (S. E. Crane et al., 1991, J. Virol., 65, 6137-6143). In this report we extend our studies of this antibody (2-23), showing both that 2-23 significantly reducers visna virus infection of susceptible cells and that 2-23 immunoprecipitates a putative protein complex consisting of a prominent 30-kDa protein, as well as the 45-kDa immunogen, specifically from radiolabeled virus-susceptible sheep cells. Further, we demonstrate that the 30-kDa protein is a membrane- associated proteoglycan substituted with a chondroitin sulfate glycosaminoglycan (GAG) chain(s) and that treatment of susceptible cells with an inhibitor of GAG synthesis significantly reduces visna virus production. Collectively, these data support a role for a proteoglycan in visna virus cell binding and infection.
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