Enterovirus A71 (EV-A71) is a causative agent of life-threatening neurological diseases in young children. EV-A71 is highly infectious but it remains unclear how the virus disseminates from primary entry sites—the mucosa of the respiratory tract or the intestine—to secondary replication sites—skin or brain. Here, we investigated the role of dendritic cells (DCs) in EV-A71 dissemination. DCs reside in the mucosa of the airway and gut, and migrate to lymphoid tissues upon activation and, therefore, could facilitate EV-A71 dissemination to secondary replication sites. Monocyte-derived DCs were not permissive to different genotypes of EV-A71 but, notably, coculture with EV-A71-susceptiblle RD99 cells led to very efficient infection of RD99 cells. Notably, EV-A71 transmission of DCs to RD99 was independent of viral replication as a replication inhibitor did not affect transmission. Soluble heparin blocked EV-A71 transmission by DCs to RD99 cells, in contrast to antibodies against known attachment receptor DC-SIGN. These results strongly suggest that DCs might be a first target for EV-A71 and involved in viral dissemination via heparan sulfates and heparin derivatives might be an effective treatment to attenuate dissemination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0282222
JournalMicrobiology spectrum
Issue number6
Early online date12 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022


  • dendritic cells
  • enterovirus
  • picornavirus
  • receptors

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