Enterovirus A71 (EV-A71) receptors that have been identified to date cannot fully explain the pathogenesis of EV-A71, which is an important global cause of hand, foot, and mouth disease and life-threatening encephalitis. We identified an IFN-γ–inducible EV-A71 cellular entry factor, human tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase (hWARS), using genome-wide RNAi library screening. The importance of hWARS in mediating virus entry and infectivity was confirmed by virus attachment, in vitro pulldown, antibody/antigen blocking, and CRISPR/Cas9-mediated deletion. Hyperexpression and plasma membrane translocation of hWARS were observed in IFN-γ–treated semipermissive (human neuronal NT2) and cDNA-transfected nonpermissive (mouse fibroblast L929) cells, resulting in their sensitization to EV-A71 infection. Our hWARS-transduced mouse infection model showed pathological changes similar to those seen in patients with severe EV-A71 infection. Expression of hWARS is also required for productive infection by other human enteroviruses, including the clinically important coxsackievirus A16 (CV-A16) and EV-D68. This is the first report to our knowledge on the discovery of an entry factor, hWARS, that can be induced by IFN-γ for EV-A71 infection. Given that we detected high levels of IFN-γ in patients with severe EV-A71 infection, our findings extend the knowledge of the pathogenicity of EV-A71 in relation to entry factor expression upon IFN-γ stimulation and the therapeutic options for treating severe EV-A71–associated complications.


Man Lung Yeung, Lilong Jia, Cyril C. Y. Yip, Jasper F. W. Chan, Jade L. L. Teng, Kwok-Hung Chan, Jian-Piao Cai, Chaoyu Zhang, Anna J. Zhang, Wan-Man Wong, Kin-Hang Kok, Susanna K. P. Lau, Patrick C. Y. Woo, Janice Y. C. Lo, Dong-Yan Jin, Shin-Ru Shih, Kwok-Yung Yuen


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