Virus attachment to cells plays an essential role in viral tropism and disease. Reovirus serotypes 1 and 3 differ in the capacity to target distinct cell types in the murine nervous system and in the efficiency to induce apoptosis. The binding of viral attachment protein sigma1 to unidentified receptors controls these phenotypes. We used expression cloning to identify junction adhesion molecule (JAM), an integral tight junction protein, as a reovirus receptor. JAM binds directly to sigma1 and permits reovirus infection of nonpermissive cells. Ligation of JAM is required for reovirus-induced activation of NF-kappaB and apoptosis. Thus, reovirus interaction with cell-surface receptors is a critical determinant of both cell-type specific tropism and virus-induced intracellular signaling events that culminate in cell death.