Vitamin B12 Receptors Serve as the Entrance Gate of Chicken Retrovirus to Cells

  • published: 23. 2. 2021

The most common retroviruses in domestic poultry use vitamin B12 receptors to enter cells. In particular, they are avian leukosis viruses (ALVs), which can cause for example cancer in chickens. This important virus has been studied at the Institute of Molecular Genetics of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic for over 50 years, but only now have scientists come up with a connection between viral entry and vitamin transport.

Microscope images

Microscope images show chicken cells with a membrane marked blue and vitamin B12 green. The cell on the left has a knockout gene for the viral receptor and a low vitamin content. The cell on the right has an artificially increased amount of receptor and a significantly higher vitamin content. The white line in the figures indicates the scale of 10 micrometers.



More information in publication:

Krchlíková V, Mikešová J, Geryk J, Bařinka C, Nexo E, Fedosov SN, Kosla J, Kučerová D, Reinišová M, Hejnar J, Elleder D: The avian retroviral receptor Tva mediates the uptake of transcobalamin bound vitamin B12 (cobalamin). J Virol 2021. [pubmed] [doi]



Martin Jakubec, Ph.D.,
phone: +420 296 443 159, e-mail:

Daniel Elleder, M.D., Ph.D.,
phone: +420 296 443 189, e-mail:,


Press release as PDF (in Czech).