COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Difference in receptor usage between severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus and SARS-like coronavirus of bat origin

Wuze Ren, Xiuxia Qu, Wendong Li, Zhenggang Han, Meng Yu, Peng Zhou, Shu-Yi Zhang, Lin-Fa Wang, Hongkui Deng, Zhengli Shi
Journal of Virology 2008, 82 (4): 1899-907
18077725
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is caused by the SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV), which uses angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as its receptor for cell entry. A group of SARS-like CoVs (SL-CoVs) has been identified in horseshoe bats. SL-CoVs and SARS-CoVs share identical genome organizations and high sequence identities, with the main exception of the N terminus of the spike protein (S), known to be responsible for receptor binding in CoVs. In this study, we investigated the receptor usage of the SL-CoV S by combining a human immunodeficiency virus-based pseudovirus system with cell lines expressing the ACE2 molecules of human, civet, or horseshoe bat. In addition to full-length S of SL-CoV and SARS-CoV, a series of S chimeras was constructed by inserting different sequences of the SARS-CoV S into the SL-CoV S backbone. Several important observations were made from this study. First, the SL-CoV S was unable to use any of the three ACE2 molecules as its receptor. Second, the SARS-CoV S failed to enter cells expressing the bat ACE2. Third, the chimeric S covering the previously defined receptor-binding domain gained its ability to enter cells via human ACE2, albeit with different efficiencies for different constructs. Fourth, a minimal insert region (amino acids 310 to 518) was found to be sufficient to convert the SL-CoV S from non-ACE2 binding to human ACE2 binding, indicating that the SL-CoV S is largely compatible with SARS-CoV S protein both in structure and in function. The significance of these findings in relation to virus origin, virus recombination, and host switching is discussed.

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