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A complementary DNA clone has been isolated that encodes a coxsackievirus and adenovirus receptor (CAR). When transfected with CAR complementary DNA, nonpermissive hamster cells became susceptible to coxsackie B virus attachment and infection. Furthermore, consistent with previous studies demonstrating that adenovirus infection depends on attachment of a viral fiber to the target cell, CAR-transfected hamster cells bound adenovirus in a fiber-dependent fashion and showed a 100-fold increase in susceptibility to virus-mediated gene transfer. Identification of CAR as a receptor for these two unrelated and structurally distinct viral pathogens is important for understanding viral pathogenesis and has implications for therapeutic gene delivery with adenovirus vectors.