Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-4-2014

Publication Title

Journal of Virology

Abstract

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) emerged in 2012. Recently, the MERS-CoV receptor dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4) was identified and the specific interaction of the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of MERS-CoV spike protein and DPP4 was determined by crystallography. Animal studies identified rhesus macaques but not hamsters, ferrets, or mice to be susceptible for MERS-CoV. Here, we investigated the role of DPP4 in this observed species tropism. Cell lines of human and nonhuman primate origin were permissive of MERS-CoV, whereas hamster, ferret, or mouse cell lines were not, despite the presence of DPP4. Expression of human DPP4 in nonsusceptible BHK and ferret cells enabled MERS-CoV replication, whereas expression of hamster or ferret DPP4 did not. Modeling the binding energies of MERS-CoV spike protein RBD to DPP4 of human (susceptible) or hamster (nonsusceptible) identified five amino acid residues involved in the DPP4-RBD interaction. Expression of hamster DPP4 containing the five human DPP4 amino acids rendered BHK cells susceptible to MERS-CoV, whereas expression of human DPP4 containing the five hamster DPP4 amino acids did not. Using the same approach, the potential of MERS-CoV to utilize the DPP4s of common Middle Eastern livestock was investigated. Modeling of the DPP4 and MERS-CoV RBD interaction predicted the ability of MERS-CoV to bind the DPP4s of camel, goat, cow, and sheep. Expression of the DPP4s of these species on BHK cells supported MERS-CoV replication. This suggests, together with the abundant DPP4 presence in the respiratory tract, that these species might be able to function as a MERS-CoV intermediate reservoir.

DOI

10.1128/JVI.00676-14

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