Composition and divergence of coronavirus spike proteins and host ACE2 receptors predict potential intermediate hosts of SARS-CoV-2

Zhixin Liu, Xiao Xiao, Xiuli Wei, Jian Li, Jing Yang, Huabing Tan, Jianyong Zhu, Qiwei Zhang, Jianguo Wu, Long Liu
Journal of Medical Virology 2020 February 26
From the beginning of 2002 and 2012, severe respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) crossed the species barriers to infect humans caused thousands of infections and hundreds of deaths, respectively. Currently, a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) causes the outbreaks of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) was discovered. Until February 18, 2020, there are 72533 confirmed COVID-19 cases (including 10644 severe cases) and 1872 deaths in China. SARS-CoV-2 is surging in the public and caused substantial burdens due to its human-to-human transmission. However, the intermediate host of SARS-CoV-2 is still unclear. Finding the possible intermediate host of SARS-CoV-2 is imperative to prevent further spread of the epidemic. In this study, we used systematic comparison and analysis to predict the interaction between the receptor binding domain (RBD) of coronavirus spike protein and the host receptor, Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2). The interaction between the key amino acids of S protein RBD and ACE2 indicated that like previous suggested pangolins and snacks, the turtles (C. picta bellii, C. mydas, and P. sinensis) may act as the potential intermediate hosts transmitting SARS-CoV-2 to human. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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