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Receptor utilization of angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) indicates a narrower host range of SARS-CoV-2 than that of SARS-CoV
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  • Ye Qiu,
  • Qiong Wang,
  • Jin-Yan Li,
  • Ce-Heng Liao,
  • Zhi-Jian Zhou,
  • Xing-Yi Ge
Ye Qiu
Hunan University
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Qiong Wang
Hunan University
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Jin-Yan Li
Hunan University
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Ce-Heng Liao
Hunan University
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Zhi-Jian Zhou
Hunan University
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Xing-Yi Ge
Hunan University
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Coronavirus (CoV) pandemics have become a huge threat to the public health worldwide in the recent decades. Typically, severe acute respiratory syndrome CoV (SARS-CoV) caused SARS pandemic in 2003 and SARS-CoV-2 caused the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Both viruses have been reported to originate from bats. Thus, direct or indirect interspecies transmission from bats to humans is required for the viruses to cause pandemics. Receptor utilization is a key factor determining the host range of viruses which is critical to the interspecies transmission. Angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is the receptor of both SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, but only ACE2s of certain animals can be utilized by the viruses. Here, we employed pseudovirus cell-entry assay to evaluate the receptor-utilizing capability of ACE2s of 20 animals by the two viruses and found that SARS-CoV-2 utilized less ACE2s than SARS-CoV, indicating a narrower host range of SARS-CoV-2. Especially, SARS-CoV-2 tended not to use murine or non-mammal ACE2s. Meanwhile, pangolin CoV, another SARS-related coronavirus highly homologous to SARS-CoV-2 in its genome, yet showed similar ACE2 utilization profile with SARS-CoV rather than SARS-CoV-2. To clarify the mechanism underlying the receptor utilization, we compared the amino acid sequences of the 20 ACE2s and found 5 amino acid residues potentially critical for ACE2 utilization, including the N-terminal 20th and 42nd amino acids that may determine the different receptor utilization of SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 and pangolin CoV. Our studies promote the understanding of receptor utilization of pandemic coronaviruses, potentially contributing to the virus tracing, intermediate host screening and epidemic prevention for pathogenic coronaviruses.

Peer review status:ACCEPTED

17 Jun 2020Submitted to Transboundary and Emerging Diseases
18 Jun 2020Submission Checks Completed
18 Jun 2020Assigned to Editor
27 Jun 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
04 Aug 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
04 Aug 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
06 Aug 20201st Revision Received
06 Aug 2020Submission Checks Completed
06 Aug 2020Assigned to Editor
07 Aug 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
11 Aug 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
11 Aug 2020Editorial Decision: Accept