In contrast to Old World monkeys, most New World monkeys (NWMs) are not susceptible to poliovirus (PV), regardless of the route of infection. We have investigated the molecular basis of restricted PV pathogenesis of NWMs with two kidney cell lines of NWMs, TMX (tamarin) and NZP-60 (marmoset), and characterized their PV receptor homologues. TMX cells were susceptible to infection by PV1 (Mahoney) and PV3 (Leon) but not by PV2 (Lansing). Binding studies to TMX cells indicated that the formation of PV/receptor complexes increased when measured first at 4°C and then at 25°C, whereas PV2 did not significantly bind to TMX cells at either temperature. On the other hand, NZP-60 cells were not susceptible to infection by any of the PV serotypes. However, a low amount of PV1 bound to NZP-60 cells at 4°C, but there was no increase of binding at 25°C. In contrast, both NWM cell lines supported genome replication and virion formation when transfected with viral RNAs of either serotype, an observation indicating that infection was blocked in receptor-virus interaction. To overcome the receptor block, we substituted 3 amino acids in the marmoset receptor (nCD155), H80Q, N85S, and P87S, found in the human PV receptor, hCD155. Cells expressing the mutant receptor (L-nCD155mt) were now susceptible to infection with PV1, which correlated with an increase in PV1-bound receptor complexes from 4°C to 25°C. L-nCD155mt cells were, however, still resistant to PV2 and PV3. These data show that an increase in the formation of PV/receptor complexes, when measured at 4°C and at 25°C, correlates with and is an indicator of successful infection at 37°C, suggesting that the complex formed at 25°C may be an intermediate in PV uptake.