The cellular receptor for the Old World arenaviruses Lassa fever virus (LFV) and lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) has recently been identified as alpha-dystroglycan (alpha-DG), a cell surface receptor that provides a molecular link between the extracellular matrix and the actin-based cytoskeleton. In the present study, we show that LFV binds to alpha-DG with high affinity in the low-nanomolar range. Recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus pseudotyped with LFV glycoprotein (GP) adopted the receptor binding characteristics of LFV and depended on alpha-DG for infection of cells. Mapping of the binding site of LFV on alpha-DG revealed that LFV binding required the same domains of alpha-DG that are involved in the binding of LCMV. Further, LFV was found to efficiently compete with laminin alpha1 and alpha2 chains for alpha-DG binding. Together with our previous studies on receptor binding of the prototypic immunosuppressive LCMV isolate LCMV clone 13, these findings indicate a high degree of conservation in the receptor binding characteristics between the highly human-pathogenic LFV and murine-immunosuppressive LCMV isolates.