Editors' ChoiceVirology

Virus Exploits a Serotonin Receptor

Science's STKE  23 Nov 2004:
Vol. 2004, Issue 260, pp. tw425
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2602004tw425

JC virus (JCV) is a common human polyomavirus responsible for the fatal demyelinating disease progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), in immunocompromised individuals. About 5% of AIDS patients develop this currently untreatable fatal disease. Typical and atypical antipsychotic drugs inhibit JCV infection of glial cells. Elphick et al. now find that the cellular receptor for JCV on glial cells is a serotonin receptor. The findings contribute to the understanding of the pathogenesis of PML in AIDS patients and suggest that therapy based on existing serotonin receptor inhibitors may be feasible.

G. F. Elphick, W. Querbes, J. A. Jordan, G. V. Gee, S. Eash, K. Manley, A. Dugan, M. Stanifer, A. Bhatnagar, W. K. Kroeze, B. L. Roth, W. J. Atwood, The human polyomavirus, JCV, uses serotonin receptors to infect cells. Science 306, 1380-1383 (2004). [Abstract] [Full Text]